Mar 18, 2012

Ray, 2004

Ray, 2004
Director: Taylor Hackford
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington

Stage: Home theatre, late Sunday night

Ray in short: The life and career of the legendary popular music pianist, Ray Charles. Ray Charles has the distinction of being both a national treasure and an international phenomenon. By the early 1960's Ray Charles had accomplished his dream. He'd come of age musically. He'd made it to Carnegie Hall. The hit records "Georgia," "Born to Lose" successively kept climbing to the top of the charts. He'd made his first triumphant European concert tour in 1960 (a feat which, except for 1965, he's repeated at least once a year ever since). He had taken virtually every form of popular music and broken through its boundaries with such awe inspiring achievements as the LP's "Genius Plus Soul Equals Jazz" and "Modern Sounds in Country & Western." Rhythm & blues (or "race music" as it had been called) became universally respectable through his efforts. Jazz found a mainstream audience it had never previously enjoyed.

I am not aware of the life and all the misstresses this great man had. But I am more than curious.

Reality: One of better biographies I have seen lately. I am always wondering, how much they have really taken upon the real events. And how much of this is true. Lives of musicians have always been inspiring me, however, they also make me sad. A sack, full with hard work, with rarely any effect.
Ray Charles, a musician without any competition in his time, with all the world lying at his hand. The plus of this piece is truly that it's filled with music. A good music. The way it has been recorded. And the dames being a part of this game, conspiracy, if we listen to Ray's wife. The deals, the managers, the records, the music factories, and obviously, the audience. The most important part of this puzzle. How to satisfy always hungry audience. How to satisfy the hungry women, lying at his feet, plus taking care of the family in a proper way. In a musician's life everything doesn't have time or place to stand out. Ray's life was destroyed by drugs. Is this a surprise? I guess not. What did Sinatra do? He was also accused of taking drugs, being violent in many family disputes, similar to Lennon, etc.
The cast is a good one. Jamie Foxx did a great job. I think his impersonification of Charles is amazing. He bought me right from the start and I am just wondering how it is for a blind person to feel the world as he made me think he did. The game wasn't about just music at all. Drugs played a large part of his life. How he got this catholic wife, remains a mistery to me. Do you always see what you want to see or what you are hiding from, in a person you need to marry you? In this case, I am not sure. The wife could have guessed, but as we saw also in the Tina Turner biography (What's love got to do with it), mostly the game reveals in the middle, not at the beginning. And at that time it's much worse. In this piece, we see Charles drown at the same time as climb to the peak of his career.

I think that the music and the game itself changed very much since that time. We simply don't know how to make such music and yet alone, there aren't players to play it this good.
To be blind is a bad thing. However, some of the chosen ones use it wisely and make it famous. In music business we do have two protagonists; Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. I adore his music. To every fan of his music, this piece is going to cling to his ears. Who doesn't know Hit the road Jack? And who wouldn't want to see the scene where this one derives from?

My personal rating: 7,0, (mmm, a good biography. Makes me think again about my music career :)))Really hard bread, hard life, hard decisions. Not only milk and honey, definitely not.

Ray on IMDB

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