starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell, Aunjanue Ellis, Harry Lennix, Terrence Dashton Howard, Larenz Tate, Bokeem Woodbine, Sharon Warren and Regina King
written by James I. White
directed by Taylor Hackford
This is the role the won Jamie Foxx an Oscar. It’s a good movie. You should see it. While reminding myself that it is only a Hollywood rendition of the life of jazz/blues/soul/gospel pianist Ray Charles I still feel comfortable with the idea that I can trust it somehow as another presentation of how really messed up, crazy people can still harbor incredible talent - talent transitioning to genius - and be successful in their fields all the while their lives and health are going straight down the toilet, fast. And while incredibly talented people are self-destructing, others around them - family, fellow musicians, managers and others in the music/record business, etc. - see it, recognize it, and yet are powerless to intervene. Ray Charles, like other musicians, grew in talent and production with the more recreational drugs he consumed, justifying it one way or another as he went, and also feeding his ego, feeding the record companies he was contracted to, and feeding the appetite of his fans for more. While the power of the music is great, the power of the dark side is terrifying to witness.
This film follows Ray’s life from his introduction to professional music until his kicking his heroin habit. The final decades of his life are then glossed over in the end credits, with some original film clips and subtitles about his accomplishments and death in 2002.