Director Taylor Hackford's 15-years-in-the-making biography of Ray Charles begins as you might hope: with 1959's "What'd I Say (Part 1)" pulsing on the soundtrack, the organ's low moans building toward that familiar, funky frenzy. It almost serves as an early climax, a bracing thrill served up before a word of dialogue has been delivered. But the movie never returns to that high. Ray doesn't skimp on the sordid detail of Charles' life -- his rampant adultery, his drug habit, his refusal to share profits with bandmates -- but nonetheless lets him off the hook more than Brother Ray did himself. Still, the women in the cast are uniformly astonishing, especially Regina King as the Raelette who let Ray into her bed and Kerry Washington as the wife Charles treated like an afterthought. And were it not for the performance of Jamie Foxx, the movie, which touches every base and slows to a crawl near home plate, would sink even when the score soars.
Director: Taylor Hackford
Writer: Taylor Hackford and James L. White
Producer: Howard Baldwin
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell, Harry J Lennix, Terrence Dashon Howard, Larenz Tate, David Krumholtz, Richard Schiff and Aunjanue Ellis