"If you wanna do something to make Mama proud, promise me you'll never let nobody turn you into no cripple. You won't become no charity case. Aní you will always stand on your own two feet."The 2004 Bio Pic based on the life and career of R&B musician Ray Charles, who passed away shortly before its release. The film is dedicated to him.Jamie Foxx plays Charles as the film shows him from his humble roots in Florida as he became blind, to his first performances in clubs, to reaching mainstream success in the 1950s and the 1960s with his unique blend of Country, Gospel, Jazz and Orchestral influences, all while dealing with racial segregation, his blindness, and a heroin addiction.The film was a huge critical and financial success, earning Foxx the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Tropes featured in this film include:
- The Cast Showoff: When it was being explained to Jamie Foxx how they would make it look like he was playing the piano, he stopped the explanation by stating that he knew how to play so such tricks wouldn't be necessary. In every scene with him at the keys, it's genuine.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Ray is horribly traumatized by the death of his little brother George, who drowned in a washbin.
- Drugs Are Bad: Ray Charles' drug addiction, which gets him trouble with the law, and eventually Bea hates seeing him get too loaded to spend time with his children.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Ray finally achieves his greatest honor: "Sweet Georgia on My Mind", becoming the state song of Georgia. After overcoming poverty, prejudice, blindness, his dead brother, and drug addiction.
- It's All My Fault: Ray blames himself for the death of his brother.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Ray demonstrates what he calls 'Country Dumb' to make people underestimate him, both to test Ahmet Ertegun's forthrightness as well as squeeze out a deal "better than Sinatra gets" out of ABC-Paramount
- Scare Chord: When Ray's brothers arms come out of the wet suitcase.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Ray gets banned from performing in Georgia because he refuses to play for a segregated audience. The ban eventually gets lifted.
- Dan Browned: That scene was purely a fabrication. In real life, Ray did refuse to play, but he only ended up having to pay the promoter compensation.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Bea gives Ray one when he continues his drug binges even after getting arrested several times, and tells him that if he won't stop, he'll lose the one thing that matters most to him: his music.
- Your Cheating Heart: Ray is pretty unabashed about his affairs with his background singers, even writing a song about one of them (Mary Ann Fisher.) The second, Margie Hendricks of the Raelettes, picks up on this almost immediately ("Does that mean we have to let Ray?") However, she falls for him to the point of wanting him to leave his wife Della Bea upon the revelation that she's carrying Ray's child. Even Bea herself seems almost permissive of the whole thing. (Of course, this may just be because he has more destructive vices for her to contend with.)