Ray

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Ray
Review (9/10)
(By Erin Cullin)


If there was one film that I wanted to see at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, it was Ray, the Ray Charles biopic directed by Taylor Hackford (who also directed the very successful Ritchie Valens biopic, La Bamba). After having seen the trailer, I was hooked - Jamie Foxx looked amazing, the story looked interesting and the music - well, who could not enjoy a movie with the music of Ray Charles?

When I attended the theatre last night to watch the press screening of Ray, I began to feel a bit apprehensive. Would my breathless anticipation only lead to bitter disappointment? Was I expecting too much?

Ray is, quite simply, one of the most outstanding biographical movies that I have ever seen and, by far, one of the better movies that I have seen this year. I cannot think of enough good things to say about this movie.

The success of this movie rests firmly on the shoulders of its star, Jamie Foxx. He delivers the performance of a lifetime - watching him, it was almost hard to believe that he was acting. He became Ray Charles - body, mind and soul. If he is not nominated for an Oscar for this performance, there is no justice in this world.

Foxx's performance is supplemented by a strong supporting cast. Although I did not consider any of the supporting performances to be "standout" performances (or perhaps I was just too riveted watching Foxx), all of the supporting actors were well-cast and seemed to be content to let Foxx carry the heavy load as the title character.

Unlike Beyond the Sea, where the soundtrack consisted of Kevin Spacey covering Bobby Darin's music, Ray relies on the original music of Ray Charles. I am not sure that it could have been done any other way - Ray Charles was an original and I think it would have been difficult to duplicate his sound and do him justice. Nevertheless, this was a strength of the movie and not a flaw and I found the music in this movie to be as much of a supporting character as some of the supporting actors.

Ray is a movie that I will recommend without hesitation. This is a movie that will establish Jamie Foxx as an A-List actor (now let's hope that he continues to make movies like Ray and Collateral). But, more importantly, this is a movie that will provide its viewers with an insight into the life and times of one of the most influential and courageous musicians of the 20th century.

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