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Ray

Year: 2004
Studio: Universal
Director: Taylor Hackford
Writer: Taylor Hackford
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Kerry Washington, Curtis Armstrong, Richard Schiff, Bokeem Woodbine
The film that turned Jamie Foxx from just another brother in Hollywood to the darling of the critical circuit at the 2005 Oscars, it follows the life story of Ray Charles from impoverished southern boy to musical legend and the horrors, addictions and stupidity in between. Because if the film is in any way true to life, Charles was an idiot who couldn't keep his dick zipped up, angling to shaft one of his backup singers while the last backup singer he shafted is still in the band. He either couldn't or wouldn't resist temptation and suffered for it, but not as much as his devoted and (for that reason) almost as stupid wife.

It will be a surprise to some people that Charles was addicted to heroin for so many of his early years; I always assumed he was a lovable, church going, Uncle Remus type and I imagine many other people did too.

The film is multi faceted, showing flashbacks to Ray's development and childhood and charting his rise from two-bit club entertainer to one of the grand daddies of soul. Foxx is awesome, most of the supporting cast is great, and the story is by turns hopeful, heartbreaking and mildly disgusting. It was more about Charles overcoming the demons he imposed on himself rather than those his blindness, colour, or any other characteristics imposed upon him.

Until the slightly jarring dream-sequence final scene, as good as a biopic can be.

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