If Jamie Foxx doesn't get a Best Actor nomination out of this, I will take that as final proof that the Academy Awards are totally and completely meaningless. Looking back over the films I've seen this year I can't find a single one that has a performance that's even in the same league as Foxx's Ray Charles. It was just amazing. I didn't even feel like I was watching an actor; it just felt like I was watching Ray Charles. Now, a lesser actor might get bogged down in the physical details, the way Charles' moves. To be sure, Foxx got that right, from the way Charles walked to the way he moved his lips and fingers. But where someone else might have hoped that would be enough, Foxx gave us the whole package--at least as far as I can tell, not having known the man personally. The rest of the movie held up to Foxx's strong performance as well. It did tend to treat Ray Charles as something more than just a man, but we still saw all his human foibles. And above all that was the music. Of course we would expect a biography of one of this century's greatest musicians to have an excellent soundtrack, and it does. To me, though, seeing Ray Charles' music in the context of his life and times just made it that much better for me.

Viewed: 10/29/2004 | Released: 10/13/2004 | Score: A

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