With my family’s predisposition for hearing loss, I am grateful I still have my hearing. In fact, I am lucky that I still have use of all my senses; it is something I do not take for granted. Whether I am in the house or driving my car, I always have music playing. The idea that composer Ludwig van Beethoven wrote a symphony while he was deaf truly amazes me. Have you noticed when a person has lost one of their senses, the other ones become heightened? Look at Stevie Wonder or Jose Feliciano; they were great musicians who did not have the ability to see. Do you think the lack of sight fine tuned their other senses and pushed their musical capabilities higher? I think it did. One of the most influential figures in the music world has to be Ray Charles. He was without sight by the age of seven, but that did not hold back his musical genius. He was the first person to blend rhythm and blues with gospel music, creating a whole new sound that captivated millions of people. I love the quote in this movie from Ray’s mother Aretha Robinson, played by Sharon Warren (Glory Road). She said to a young Ray, “Never let nobody or nothing turn you into no cripple.” It was a great line. C.J. Sanders (First Sunday, Beautiful Loser) was excellent as the younger Ray in this biopic. As an adult Ray Charles, Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls, Law Abiding Citizen) was stupendous in the role. Having the opportunity to sit down with Ray Charles, Jamie did a flawless impersonation; even wearing prostheses on his eyes, to create a true sense of blindness as he acted. Kerry Washington (Lakeview Terrace, The Last King of Scotland) did a beautiful job playing Ray’s wife Della Bea Robinson. The story traced the life and career of this musical genius who was not a perfect man, by any means. It was an honor for me to watch and listen to this wonderful movie.
3 1/4 stars — DVD