It's far easier to trash a film then to praise it. With Ray there's no easy way out: - it's all gold. The curtain opens and we're in 1951, Ray's 21 and heading for Seattle to play a lounge club. The movie continues from this point with the occasional flashback to the '30s when times were far from easy. The bulk of the movie transpires during the '50s and early '60s, and traces Ray's development from lounge singer to recording superstar. Along the way, he falls in love and gets married, gets crazy hooked then kicks the heroin, and has a baby out of wedlock.
His support of the Civil Rights movement gets him banned from ever again playing in Georgia (a ban that was subsequently rescinded), and one of his mistresses dies of an overdose.
The performances are all solid. There have been many impersonations of Ray Charles and more then not the inclination is to act like a spasmodic clown. Jamie Foxx doesn't impersonate as much as inhabits the role of Ray. The child Ray (C.J. Sanders) shows how his sudden blindness at the age of seven may have had psychological roots in his younger brother's accidental drowning in a washing tub - memories of which haunted him for the rest of his life.
It's an inspiring tale to be sure. Dirt poor crippled black kid battles the ignorance of the Southern American to become a legendary performer. What's not to like? Definitely two and a half hours well spent.