Ray: His Life Gave the World
of Light that will Live on
by The Blonde and
directed by Taylor Hackford, is a musical biographical
drama about the life of American music and civil rights
icon and Ray Charles (Robinson). The genius of soul, Ray
Charles, is played by the brilliant Jamie Foxx
(Collateral and Ali). Ray paved the original and
creative way for all artists of his time and for all
artists to come.
Born in the thirties, in a poor
town in Georgia, Ray started his life with very humble
beginnings. After witnessing his younger brother's
accidental death (drowning in a tub of boiling wash
water), he went blind due to glaucoma at the tender age
of seven. His strong-willed, tough, independent mother,
portrayed by Sharon Warren (film debut), insisted he
make his own way in the world and taught him to depend
on his other senses. She was his rock, even though she
at times seemed cold and never showed Ray even the
slightest bit of affection and tenderness. Aretha truly
loved him, but knew that she had to keep him tough so
that he could survive.
Ray found his calling and
his musical brilliance behind the piano keyboard. He was
the first artist who dared to combine gospel, country,
jazz and orchestral influences with his own unique
style. After touring the southern musical circuit, a
star was born. His worldwide fame earned him 12 Grammys,
among countless other honors. He became a guiding voice
who fought for civil rights, against racism and
segregation. Ray faced and overcame drug addictions as
well as his 20-year addiction to heroin. His wife Della
Bea, portrayed by Kerry Washington, (The Human Stain and
Save the Last Dance), had to endure not only Ray's
horrendous addictions to drugs but also addiction to
The film takes you from Ray’s childhood up
until his recent death in June, due to liver disease.
You will hear many of Ray Charles' classic hits such as
“Unchain My Heart,” “Hit the Road Jack,” “Hallelujah,”
“Doin' the Mess Around,” and, of course, “Georgia.” The
film shows how young Ray met the young Quincy Jones. The
story goes on to tell of his many affairs, including one
with the elegant Margie Hendricks, played by Regina King
(Legally Blonde 2), who was one of his three back-up
is a portrait and a tribute to a legendary man, who
overcame gigantic obstacles of blindness, addiction,
prejudice, the civil-rights movement, and infidelities,
to achieve the American Dream. Brother Ray Charles is a
light and a towering figure of modern-day culture, music
and history. Ray is a film about an American man who can
teach us all about the hardships and triumphs of
Blonde: This film was like, well it was like…Ya
know what, forget it! This film was like no other film!
It stands alone! Wow, Jamie Foxx will take your breath
away with his stunning performance. For Jamie, this is
his role of a lifetime. OSCAR, OSCAR, AND OSCAR!
REMEMBER YOU HEARD IT HERE, MOVIEGOERS! From recreating
Charles' mannerisms to his very soul, he mimics the man
so RIGHT-ON, down to the physical looks that he almost
seems to be channeling the legend. Foxx is a skilled
pianist himself. As for the singing aspect of the film,
Foxx only lip-syncs the vocals. (Ya know, like Simpson
did on “Saturday Night Live”!) Ray would have been proud
of Foxx’s perfectly executed portrayal.
Maven: NO COMMENT to you, Blonde…
Blonde: I thought when Foxx was talking about the
election that he…
Maven: Readers, this is a cheap trick by the
Blonde. There was no election talk in the movie or in
the theater for that matter. NO
Blonde: ARE YOU MAD AT ME?
Maven: YES, actually I am!
Blonde: What for?
Maven: You just had to talk politics, so you wrote your
own article (“Clinton Pours his Heart out for Kerry”)
and cheated on me AND with someone I adore. You KNOW how
much I think of President Bill Clinton!
Blonde: You were busy at a Kerry rally.
The Maven: NOT THAT BUSY! So was he as
wonderful in person?
Blonde: TO DIE FOR! Like the best chocolate candy!
I AM TOTALLY WITH MONICA LEWINSKY ON THIS ONE! He is
such a charmer!
Maven: You haven't stopped talking about Kerry and NOW
it's Bill Clinton!
Blonde: That's only because you wouldn't let me talk
about Kerry! Moving right along, it was a shame that Ray
Charles never got to see the film before died.
Maven: How could he see it, he was blind! You ARE so
blonde! But just to let you know, he did get to
hear the film in its entirety before his
Blonde: Oh, that does make me happy! I thought the way
Ray's childhood was told, through the use of flashbacks,
was very touching and effective. It brought so much
compassion to all the characters involved. It was deeply
sad how he blamed himself his entire life for his
brother's death. That is too much guilt for any kid to
live with, which explains why he got involved in drugs
in the first place to hide his pain. I thought that
Martin Luther King’s daughter did a terrific acting job
in this film as Ray's girlfriend.
Maven: That wasn't Martin Luther King's daughter! That
was Regina King, the famous actress! Remember her in
Jerry Maguire? There are many kudos I want to extend to
this film. First and foremost, I applaud the director
Taylor Hackford for spending fifteen years of his life
to bring this fabulous story to us. He imbued this
biopic with a sense of Ray as an inspiring man of
artistic talent that transcended racial, physical and
social barriers. He didn't whitewash Ray's life at all.
Ray's addiction to heroin and his womanizing behavior
was shown with unflinching honesty.
Blonde: This was a film I would have expected Spike
Jones to have directed. However, this film was directed,
cast, paced, written and edited incredibly. I haven't
seen a movie in a very long time that all the characters
in the film deserved an Oscar. In addition, we all knew
how talented Ray Charles was, but this film brought out
just how brilliant, creative, and ahead of his time he
actually was. Ray was the first artist in history to
request or get to keep control of his recording masters.
He got a better deal than Sinatra. He had
Maven: I must stand and applaud Jamie Foxx. His
portrayal of Charles was so wonderful I forgot that it
wasn't Ray up on the screen. Jamie dropped from 190
pounds to 157 pounds to better fit the role. He also
learned Braille and jazz and blues style piano playing.
That was ALL Jamie in the movie playing those keys.
Jamie actually used prosthetics on his eyes to make the
physicality of the role more convincing.
Blonde: I thought he was so great that no other actor
even has a shot for the Oscar this year. This film takes
your emotions on a roller-coaster ride. I found it most
difficult to watch the scenes of his brother dying, when
he became addicted to drugs and when he kicked the drugs
cold turkey. Ray the film was a very powerfully moving
and exquisite triumphant display of acting. By the way,
Maven, this movie raises the question, do all men
Maven: Do you really think it is cheating if the wife
knows and looks the other way?
Blonde: Don't change the question!
Maven: Well, one man’s cheat is another man’s
Blonde: So the answer to my question is YES!....???
Well I loved the strength and courage of his wife
and mother. They were amazing women.
Maven: I never really appreciated what it took for Ray
to create his music. He had such a sweet, strong and
tender soul. It's hard to believe that no studio wanted
to make this movie, so Hackford made it as an
independent film. Then Universal picked it up for
distribution. I bet they won't regret it! Not only do I
recommend Ray, but I think only a fool would avoid this
movie. I rate an A+.
Blonde: Ray Charles lived every single word of his
music. He said, “If I feel the music, then its real.”
Every unique musical idea he had became legendary not to
mention a smash! His music, courage, inspiration,
politics and life were a gift to this world, and this
film makes you realize that. I rate the film Ray an A+
as well and recommend it to EVERYONE. For your munchies,
just get some plain popcorn and soda because you'll be
too enthralled with this movie to eat anything else. RUN
to see this one, folks!
Shrek 2: Free Screening This
at Weston Regional
month’s Maroone Moonlight Movies screening will take
place at 7pm on Saturday, November 20th with a free
screening of the 2004 Dreamworks computer-animated
sequel, Shrek 2. This film will be presented free of
charge at Weston Regional Park, 20200 Saddle Club Road,
Released earlier this year, Shrek 2 runs
for 93 minutes and—like its Academy Award-winning
predecessor Shrek—stars the delightful voice-overs of
Mike Myers (Shrek), Eddie Murphy (Donkey) and Cameron
Diaz (Princess Fiona). The film also includes the voices
of Julie Andrews and John Cleese as Fiona’s parents,
Rupert Everett as the anything-but-charming Prince
Charming and Antonio Banderas as Puss-in-Boots.
Movie-goers taking advantage of this cost-free
entertainment are encouraged to bring picnic fare, lawn
chairs and blankets to make the most of the series’
moonlit, fresh-air venue. In addition to providing
valuable information about the services they provide,
local charities will be on-hand selling affordable
Upcoming films include: Santa Clause 2 (December
11), Ice Age (January 8), Snow Dogs (February 5), Agent
Cody Banks (March 5) and Spy Kids 2 (April
Presented by Sun-Sentinel, the Maroone
Moonlight Movies series—a partnership between Maroone,
an AutoNation company, and the Fort Lauderdale
International Film Festival—is held on the third
Saturday of every month; all movies are free.
For more information, contact the Fort
Lauderdale Film Festival offices at
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