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By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Excellent portrayal of extraordinary musician.

Movie PG-13 2004 152 minutes
Ray Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 15+

a movie about sin, redemption and strength

Before watching this movie I always thought that Ray Charles was born blind. This movie told me that his blindness came by accident because soap fell into his eyes as he was being bathed. He was about 7 at the time. The movie also showed how Ray coped with being blind and the occasional problems that he had because of that condition. The movie also showed how his drug use and his many extramarital affairs very nearly destroyed his marriage, as well as how his marriage healed once he kicked those habits. When Ray Charles refused to perform in a place that didn't allow black customers, he was banned from performing in Georgia. To put it another way, he was banned from that state because he stood up for what he believed in. This movie showed how African-Americans- and people in general- dealt with racial issues in the pre-Civil Rights era. Eventually people agreed with him that the ban was unjust, and the ban was lifted, proving that, if you stand up for what you believe in, people may eventually come around to your way of thinking, and your views, in any event, will be known. While they could've shown more of his music than they did, what they did show came across well. This movie shows the devastating effects of sin, the consequences of sin, and the rewards that follow when one "goes away" from sin. Older teens can learn from this.
age 13+

Ray Charles biopic = fair

It is a good movie with an Oscar-winning performance. Very well deserved. Drugs are the only concern. If you watch with a younger one, assure them it is not good to take in drugs. Other than that, great movie about the life of Ray Charles.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (5 ):

Jamie Foxx creates such a real and vivid person that we almost forget that he is re-enacting someone else's life. The movie's two greatest strengths are Foxx's incendiary and fully-inhabited performance and Charles' peerless music. There are also outstanding supporting performances, including Kerry Washington as Charles' wife Della Bea, Regina King as back-up singer (and mistress) Margie, and Curtis Armstrong as Atlantic records executive Ahmet Ertegun.

But RAY focuses too much on Charles' personal life, and not enough of the process, inspiration, collaboration, or the passion that made the music. It also tries to cover too long a time span, and has too many undeveloped peripheral characters. It over-simplifies the influences and developments in Charles' life and music with too-frequent revelatory flashbacks that tie his reactions and each of his songs to particular revelations and turning points. But there are many moments of great power as Charles says he must be paid in singles so he cannot be cheated and insists on owning his own music instead of letting the studio control it. He breaks through musical barriers that separate R&B from country and societal barriers that allow a black man to perform in segregated venues. And every time he plays and sings, it is pure magic.

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