Just back from the cinema and have a head full of gospel R&B. The lifestory of Ray Charles is well reflected in his music, even if you don’t realise it, and his problems are well enough documented that the main storyline is no surprise. However to make this movie sing it required stellar performances from not only the lead character but the main supporting roles as well, and in Sharon Warren as Ray’s young struggling mother, Kerry Washington as Ray’s long suffering wife, and in particular the scene stealing Regina King as backing singer/lover Marge, the film has a solid base.
Naturally the spotlight falls on Jamie Foxx and I think he delivers a wonderful performance. Not only does he manage to convince as the late great Mr. Charles, but he manages to portray the darker side of this troubled genius with great emotion and control. I’m always wary of biopics but the acting and direction of this are almost spot on.
The only slight flaws are minor, some scenes could be edited or cut and one particular dream sequence near the end of the movie almost manages to break the spell (you’ll know it when you see it) but that aside this is a well crafted movie. Production, cinematography and lighting gain from being able to withdraw into traditional ‘smokey nightclub’ lighting and effects but it matches the mood of the movie well.
The credits (and awards) will go to Jamie Foxx, but it’s his band the provide the backdrop for him to perform. How fitting.
P.S. Were my eyes deceiving me or did I spot Laura Linney in a couple of scenes?