Ray (film)

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Ray
Ray movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTaylor Hackford
Produced byTaylor Hackford
Stuart Benjamin
Howard Baldwin
Karen Baldwin
Screenplay byJames L. White
Story byTaylor Hackford
James L. White
StarringJamie Foxx
Kerry Washington
Clifton Powell
Harry Lennix
Terrence Howard
Larenz Tate
Richard Schiff
Regina King
Music byCraig Armstrong
Ray Charles (songs)
CinematographyPaweł Edelman
Editing byPaul Hirsch
StudioBristol Bay Productions
Anvil Films
Baldwin Entertainment Group
Distributed byUniversal Studios
Release dates
  • October 29, 2004 (2004-10-29)
Running time152 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$40 million[1]
Box office$124,731,534
 
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Ray
Ray movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTaylor Hackford
Produced byTaylor Hackford
Stuart Benjamin
Howard Baldwin
Karen Baldwin
Screenplay byJames L. White
Story byTaylor Hackford
James L. White
StarringJamie Foxx
Kerry Washington
Clifton Powell
Harry Lennix
Terrence Howard
Larenz Tate
Richard Schiff
Regina King
Music byCraig Armstrong
Ray Charles (songs)
CinematographyPaweł Edelman
Editing byPaul Hirsch
StudioBristol Bay Productions
Anvil Films
Baldwin Entertainment Group
Distributed byUniversal Studios
Release dates
  • October 29, 2004 (2004-10-29)
Running time152 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$40 million[1]
Box office$124,731,534

Ray is a 2004 biographical film focusing on 30 years[2] of the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was directed by Taylor Hackford and starred Jamie Foxx in the title role; Foxx received an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

Charles was set to attend an opening of the completed film, but he died of liver disease in June, several months before its premiere.[3]

Plot[edit]

Raised on a sharecropping plantation in Northern Florida, Ray Charles Robinson went blind at the age of seven, shortly after witnessing his younger brother drown. Inspired by a fiercely independent mother who insisted he make his own way in the world, Charles found his calling and his gift behind a piano keyboard. Touring across the chitlin circuit, the soulful singer gained a reputation and then exploded with worldwide fame when he pioneered incorporating gospel, country, jazz, and orchestral influences into his inimitable style.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film's production was entirely financed by Philip Anschutz, through his Bristol Bay Productions company. Taylor Hackford stated in a DVD bonus feature that it took 15 years to make the film. He later clarified in the liner notes of the soundtrack album that it took that time to secure financing.

Charles was given a Braille copy of the film's original script; he objected only to a scene showing him taking up piano grudgingly, and a scene implying that Charles had shown mistress and lead "Raelette" Margie Hendricks how to shoot heroin.[3]

Ray debuted at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival.

Soundtrack[edit]

The following songs were used in the film:

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Ray was released in theaters on October 29, 2004 on a budget of $40 million. The film went on to become a box-office hit, earning $75 million in the U.S. with an additional $50 million internationally, bringing its world wide gross to $125 million.

Critical reaction[edit]

The film received mostly positive reviews. Most of the praise went to Jamie Foxx's performance for which he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor. The film however did receive some bad reviews, with critics complaining that the film suffered from a mediocre screenplay buoyed by powerful performances.[4] Currently Ray has a certified fresh rating of 81% based on 188 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.[5]

Music critic Robert Christgau said that "Foxx does the impossible—radiates something approaching the charisma of the artist he's portraying ... that's the only time an actor has ever brought a pop icon fully to life on-screen."[6]

Awards[edit]

Differences from noted events[edit]

As noted in the film's final credits, Ray is based on true events, but includes some characters, names, locations, and events which have been changed and others which have been "fictionalized for dramatization purposes." Examples of the fictionalized scenes include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ray (2004)
  2. ^ Director Hackford noted this focus on the years 1935-1965 in his DVD commentary for the film; the only exception to this focus is the film's final scene featuring Julian Bond and set in the Georgia State Capitol in 1979, a scene Hackford included at Charles' specific request.
  3. ^ a b "Music legend Ray Charles dies at 73". AP Associated Press. 2004-06-10. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Ray – Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ Ray – Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (July 5, 2005). "All This Useless Beauty". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved March 25, 2013. 

External links[edit]