Sometimes it so happens that you want to remember a person as pure evil, and you want to erase any good memories that you had with them. You do not want to give them any benefit of the doubt. You do not want to entertain the possibility that there could be another side to their personality also. You do all this so that you can hate them properly. But life is not so one-dimensional. It confuses you, frustrates you, and often makes you stand at a crossroads where you no longer know which way is right and which way is wrong. You no longer know whether whatever you felt at one point was real and legitimate or not. You feel guilty, yet at the same time, you want to justify your anger. You feel burdened after harboring such negative emotions, but you can’t help it because all you have left is negative emotions.
Written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia, “Raymond and Ray” follows the peculiar journey of two brothers who have met after ages. Fate had once again forced them to think about their past. A past that they didn’t want to remember. A past that still made them uneasy. A past that they couldn’t change. The film boasts a stellar star cast with Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke at the helm of affairs. So, let’s dive in straight away and try to understand the emotional dilemma that the brothers were experiencing throughout the course of their journey.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Raymond had got the news that his father, Benjamin Reed Harris III (Ben), had passed away. He went to meet his brother, whom he had not seen for almost five years. Both brothers had very distinctive and contrasting personalities. Raymond was more disciplined, quiet, and solemn in this approach. He had a mundane life, and he liked it that way. He worked in the water and power department in Cincinnati. He was never very adventurous, and his peace of mind was precious to him. Ray, on the other hand, was a rebel. He was free-spirited and indulged in all sorts of vices. He had become an addict, and his life had become a mess. He had gathered himself, joined a rehab program, and found a girl whom he loved dearly. But sometimes life is unfair to an individual, and the problems never seem to end. The girl he met passed away, and once again, loneliness came to haunt Ray.
The first thing Ray asked Raymond was if their father had committed suicide. Ray said that he had always felt that their father would kill himself eventually, considering he had so much bitterness inside him. He was always frustrated, and Ray felt that he was not satisfied with his life. Both the boys had a lot of issues with their father. Ben Harris was never able to understand his sons. He was never there for them. He had ruined their childhood. The impact of the trauma was visible in their present lives too. Raymond had been married multiple times, but it never worked out for him. Ray felt scattered most of the time. Ray and Raymond had learned to subdue their emotions and to pretend as if nothing had ever happened. They had become good at it. It was a very peculiar feeling that the boys got when they were going for the funeral of their father. They were not in touch with Ben. They didn’t know who all were part of his life. They didn’t know who his friends were. They didn’t know what position they had about him. They felt weird when they started getting calls from the funeral home, the lawyer who was handling the will, and others who wanted to inquire about the final arrangements that had to be made. The brothers met Lucia, in whose home their father was staying during his last days. Lucia was in a relationship with Ben for a short period of time, but after that, they stayed friends. The brothers saw his room and took what he had left for them. They went to the funeral home, where they got to know about the peculiar list of last wishes that their father had made. He had wished to be buried naked, and he had chosen a very minimalistic casket for himself (which almost made him look like a miser). One more absurd wish that he had made was that he wanted Ray and Raymond to dig his grave by themselves without using any sort of machinery. The brothers didn’t even know if they would be allowed to do that, but their father had taken all the permissions and arranged for everything beforehand. They didn’t understand what must be going on in their old man’s mind during his last few days. But because it was his last wish, the boys were ready to do it and get freedom from those nightmares once and for all.
‘Raymond And Ray’ Ending Explained: What Did The Brothers Finally Realize?
Lucia came to the funeral with a little kid named Simon. She asked Simon to meet her brothers, and that is when Raymond and Ray realized that he was their father’s son. Kiera, who was Ben’s nurse at the senior house, also came to the cemetery. She had come earlier to the funeral home and met Ray there. Reverend West, Ben’s pastro, was present to do the rituals, and Mr. Canfield was there to check if everything was going according to the law and the wishes of the deceased. Apart from these people, Leon and Vincent, who were twins, also came, though nobody knew who they were. Ben was their father too, but they very frankly told that he had never got a chance to know the man personally. Raymond and Ray started to turn over the soil, but it felt like they were digging into their own traumatic past and bringing all that was embedded inside their core to the surface. Raymond had started to like Lucia. He had a conversation with her where he told her that Ray was still confined by his past. Raymond often felt bad for his brother and how life had been so unfair with him. Kiera told Ray that Ben used to listen to the same song in the hospital, repetitively, during his last days. Ray felt shattered. He used to play trumpet in his childhood, but his father, for some reason, got angry with him and told him that he had sold it to a pawn shop. That day, Ray searched each and every pawn shop in the area, but he couldn’t find it. He found the trumpet in the parcel that his father had left for him. Ray had a difficult childhood, and when he was little, music was the thing that healed him, but that, too, was taken away from him. It had left a deep impact on his subconscious, and years later, when he heard from Kiera that her father was listening to music to ease the pain, it brought back old traumatic memories. Both the brothers felt an outburst of emotion. Raymond brought Ray’s gun from his car and shot at the casket. His father had slept with his wife and made her pregnant. She had given birth to a boy, and Raymond had always thought that he was his son until he got to know that it was his father’s son. Ben didn’t even bother to keep different names for his sons. He used to call both of them Raymond. Their mother eventually started calling one of them, Ray. This mere fact says a lot about Ben Harris and the kind of relationship he shared with his sons. In my opinion, men like him should never marry. He was not fit to raise a child. He was not ready to take up the huge responsibility. He was not worthy of being called a father.
Ray played the trumpet. He played it to heal his pain. He played it to show his old man how wrong he had been throughout his life. Ben had left a letter for both his sons. In Raymond’s letter, he told him that Ray was not his son. Ray’s mother had been pregnant before she met Ben. The irony of the situation was that Ray’s life had been defined by the agonizing experiences, courtesy of his father, and now we realize that he was not even his real father. Raymond never revealed this fact to Ray. The boys buried their fears, traumas, anger and the frustration, together with the grave of their father. Their father was not a bad man. Raymond and Ray had realized that maybe he was like that with them only, and he was a good man for the rest of the world. They didn’t have any answer as to why he was like that to them. They didn’t understand what they could have done differently to not be subjected to that trauma. But now it didn’t matter. The ghosts of their past no longer haunted them. Raymond decided to stay back as he had found love. He was staying with Lucia, and this time, he had the chance to be the father to his father’s son. Both of them laughed at the turn of events. Raymond and Ray looked forward to what life had in store for them and believed that things would be better moving forward.
“Raymond and Ray” is a 2022 Drama film directed by Rodrigo Garcia.