I don't want to ever be personally involved in a biopic. On one level, it's a simple proposition. The facts of someone's life are usually plain and simple, and you only have so much dramatic leeway before you lose your audience. There's only so much surprise you can create, and hammering someone's life into a nice three act structure is often just silly.
That said, Ray - the movie - is about as good as you can expect a straightforward biopic to be. The story rings true, the visuals are often amazing, and the choice of Jamie Foxx to star was a home run. Foxx not only bears a strong resemblance to the young Ray Charles, but he manages to capture, not only the mannerisms, but the soul of the man.
My biggest complaint about Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles is that I don't think Ray worked out so much. When we see his bare arms, or when he goes without a shirt, the muscle definition on this guy reflects the kind of obsession that Ray instead have for his music. Nobody was going to tell Jamie to flab out to prepare for the film, but still this was the one thing to bring me out of the illusion.
As for the story, I personally was not familiar with much of Ray's life, and it is impressive what he did to succeed. And the depths which success brought are also compelling. The movie is, basically, a factual depiction of one man's life. An interesting life, for sure, but that's all the film is. Subsequent viewings will not bring greater understanding. And that's fine, a movie doesn't need immense artistic or thematic ambitions - especially a biopic, where the truth may suffer from too much artistic interpretation.
Ray is a fine film, of an amazing man, played by someone who has turned out to be an amazing actor. That should be enough to get you into those seats to watch this film, shouldn't it?
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