D: Taylor Hackford
Universal/Bristol Bay/Anvil (Taylor Hackford, Howard Baldwin, Karen Elise Baldwin & Stuart Benjamin)
W: James L. White & Taylor Hackford
DP: Pawel Edelman
Ed: Paul Hirsch
Mus: Craig Armstrong; Ray Charles
PD: Stephen Altman
Cos: Sharen Davis
Jamie Foxx (Ray Charles), Kerry Washington (Della Bea Robinson), Regina King (Margie Hendricks), Clifton Powell (Jeff Brown), Aunjanue Ellis (Mary Ann Fisher), Harry Lennix (Joe Adams), Terrence Howard (Gossie McKee), Larenz Tate (Quincy Jones)
Jamie Foxx doesn't only portray Ray Charles, he practically embodies him in this stellar biopic of the music legend, put together with some finesse by auteur Taylor Hackford.
The film chronicles the struggles of the jazz pianist and singer from an early age, as he struggles to cope not only with the disability of blindness, but also racial issues, heroin addiction and domestic problems over the course of his blossoming career. The film does hint at pinning his struggles to one major event in his life, the accidental death of his brother, which feels a bit clumsy, but the attention given to his musical journey and subsequent addiction to narcotics is where the biopic really comes to life, especially given Jamie Foxx's astonishing performance.
The film only takes Ray Charles' story up to a certain point in his life, concluding with a caption that he kicked drugs and became a national treasure, this is due to the director and screenwriter feeling that the musician had no more struggles to overcome once he gave up his addiction. Though concise, it fails to address whether Charles' addictions gave him licence to be more creative with his flair for music, but perhaps this is a story for a different movie.
Jamie Foxx deservedly won the Best Actor Oscar and the film was rightfully nominated as one of the best of 2004.