Though it’s a sub-genre that has its conventions, this lengthy musical biopic manages, under director Taylor Hackford, to tick all the boxes without disappearing under the weight of cliché. It’s the true story of Ray Charles (brought to life by Oscar-winning Jamie Foxx), who vanquished glaucoma-linked blindness, rural poverty and racism – both casual and constitutional – to become one of the most famous R&B artists of all time. From a Depression-era share-cropping childhood, via local bands in Jacksonville to a contract with Atlantic Records, crossover success and creative ownership, this is a gift-wrapped triumph-over-tragedy story spanning 30 years. Foxx scores as actor and musician, with some show-stopping musical numbers. He did meet and played piano with Charles, but the great man died before the film premiered.
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