Biographical Film “Ray”: Movie Review Movie Analysis

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The 2004 film “Ray” is a biographical film that is focused on the life of the great and legendary blues musician Ray Charles. This film includes a well known cast of actors including Jamie Foxx(Ray Charles), Kerry Washington(Della Bea Robinson), Regina King(Margie Hendricks) and many more actors. In the film, Charles life was being told which included flashbacks to his childhood in Georgia that showed his experience of losing his brother then eventually his sight. Viewers are able to witness his rise to becoming a famous pianist, touring the country, and him writing his own songs. The film also showcases his addiction to drugs and the affect that it had on his work and family life.

While watching the movie, there is one particular mental illness that is observable throughout the film that Ray Charles suffered from. Throughout the film, it is obvious that Ray Charles suffers from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. For those of you who don’t know what PTSD is, according to Sharma (2013), “PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after an exposure to a traumatizing event, such as physical harm or threat to one’s life”(p. 229). Therefore, if a person were to experience a traumatizing event, he/she would possibly develop PTSD. As for symptoms, according to Sharma (2013),

“Symptoms of PTSD have been categorized into three types: re-experiencing symptoms, which includes flashbacks or bad dreams from the experience; avoidance symptoms, which includes staying away from places, objects, or situations that remind one of the traumatizing experience; and hyper arousal symptoms, which includes being easily startled or constantly on edge” (p. 229).

With the information provided by Sharma (2013), it is easy to understand what PTSD is and recognize if a person suffers from PTSD. In the film, Charles witnessed the death of his brother, which is a traumatic event that would cause a person to develop PTSD. While watching the film, Charles would constantly have flashbacks of what happened to his brother and be easily startled or on edge. I honestly believe that because of him witnessing his brother’s death and having him feel a bit guilty for what happened because he didn’t help his brother when drowning, is what triggered him into doing drugs. Doing drugs helped take the pain away that he was suffering from and just took his mind off of the incident by making him forget for a while. By Charles doing drugs, it wasn’t exactly a good choice because it did cause problems in his work and family life, but that is something that I see a lot of people that is dealing with a mental illness do to deal with their illness.

While watching the film, I don’t believe that there were any misconceptions about mental illness. With the information that was provided by Sharma (2013), the film does a great job by depicting that Ray Charles suffered from PTSD. He witnessed a traumatic event that led to some symptoms of PTSD, which was visible throughout the film. Like other people who suffer from a mental illness, they too turn to drugs to get away from what they are dealing with, and the film does a great job by depicting Ray doing the same. The film also depicts the danger that is associated with doing drugs.

When it comes to the acting that is portrayed by Jamie Foxx, I wouldn’t change a thing. With the way that he acted, he made it possible for viewers to understand what a person with a mental illness deals with in their everyday life. With his acting, it helps viewers see that it is possible to deal with a mental illness and drug addiction even though it may be difficult. The good thing about Charles and his recovery was that he had a good support system. By him having a good support system is what made things easier for him to deal with everything that he was going through, but if he didn’t it is possible that he would have still been going through a rough patch.

In conclusion, the film “Ray” does a perfect job by depicting the mental illness “PTSD”. I really enjoyed the movie and feel that it is something that others would enjoy watching when it comes to learning more about PTSD. I especially like how the movie used the traumatic event that he experienced in his childhood, to help show viewers how much a traumatic event can really affect a person’s life mentally. Ray Charles went through years of torture, but what made it worse is that he thought that it was his fault his brother died, but it wasn’t. I can understand how something so traumatic can have an impact on a person’s life that can lead to other things such as harm to one’s self and drugs. I honestly can say that I thought that the movie was interesting and that it did a great job of depicting someone who is dealing with PTSD.


  1. Hackford T., Baldwin H.,Benjamin S., Baldwin K., Robinson Jr,R.,. Benjamin A., Morton N., (Producer), & Hackford T. (Director). (2004). Ray[Motion Picture]. United States: Twentieth Century Fox.
  2. Sharma, M., Atri, A., & Branscum, P. (2013). Foundations of mental health promotion. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Cite this paper

Biographical Film “Ray”: Movie Review Movie Analysis. (2020, Sep 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/biographical-film-ray-movie-review/



Is Ray a good movie?
"Ray" is an excellent movie . Jamie Foxx did a great job in the film and earned the Oscar for Best Actor--and he was excellent in the title role. The film also showed many of the warts in Ray Charles' life--such as affairs and drug abuse.
Is the movie Ray based on a true story?
Yes, the movie Ray is based on the true story of Ray Charles.
What age is Ray the movie for?
The movie Ray is for ages 13 and up.
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