Sometimes it happens that you want to remember someone as pure evil and want to erase all the good memories you had with them. You don’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt. You don’t want to entertain the possibility that there might be another side to their personality as well. You do all of this so you can hate them properly. But life is not so one-dimensional. It confuses you, frustrates you, and often puts you at a crossroads where you no longer know which way is right and which way is wrong. You no longer know if what you felt at a given moment was real and legitimate or not. You feel guilty, but at the same time, you want to justify your anger. You feel overwhelmed after harboring such negative emotions, but you cannot help it because you are left with only negative emotions.
Written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia, “Raymond and Ray” follows the particular journey of two brothers who met after ages. Fate had once again forced them to reflect on their past. A past they didn’t want to remember. A past that still made them uncomfortable. A past they couldn’t change. The film boasts a stellar star cast with Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke leading the business. So, let’s dive right in and try to understand the emotional dilemma the brothers have been through throughout their journey.
Plot Summary: What is the film about?
Raymond had learned that his father, Benjamin Reed Harris III (Ben), had died. He went to meet his brother, whom he had not seen for almost five years. The two brothers had very distinct and contrasting personalities. Raymond was more disciplined, calm and solemn in this approach. He had a worldly 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 a drug addict and his life had become a mess. He had gotten together, joined a rehab program, and found a girl he really liked. But sometimes life is unfair to an individual and the problems never seem to end. The girl he met died, and once again loneliness came to haunt Ray.
The first thing Ray asked Raymond was if their father had committed suicide. Ray said he always thought their father would end up killing himself, given he had so much bitterness in him. He was still frustrated and Ray felt he wasn’t satisfied with his life. Both boys had a lot of problems 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 also visible in their current lives. Raymond had been married many times, but it never worked out for him. Ray felt scattered most of the time. Ray and Raymond had learned to control their emotions and act as if nothing had happened. They had become good at it. It was a very special feeling the boys felt when they went to their father’s funeral. They weren’t in contact with Ben. They didn’t know who were all part of his life. They didn’t know who his friends were. They didn’t know what position they had on him. They felt weird when they started getting calls from the funeral home, the lawyer handling the will, and others who wanted to inquire about final arrangements. The brothers met Lucia, with whom their father was staying during his last days. Lucia was in a relationship with Ben for a short time, but after that they remained friends. The brothers saw his room and took what he had left for them. They went to the funeral home, where they learned about the particular list of last wishes their father had made. He had wanted to be buried naked, and he had chosen a very minimalist coffin (which almost made him look like a miser). Another absurd wish he made was that he wanted Ray and Raymond to dig his grave on their own without using any sort of machinery. The brothers weren’t even sure if they would be allowed to, but their father had taken all the permissions and arranged ahead of time. They did not understand what must be going through their old man’s head during his last days. But because it was his last wish, the boys were ready to do it and break free from these nightmares once and for all.
‘Raymond and Ray’ Ending Explained: What Did the Brothers Ultimately Achieve?
Lucia came to the funeral with a little boy named Simon. She asked Simon to meet her brothers, and that’s when Raymond and Ray realized he was their father’s son. Kiera, who was Ben’s nurse at the nursing home, also came to the cemetery. She had come to the funeral home earlier and met Ray there. Reverend West, Ben’s pastro, was present to do the rituals, and Mr. Canfield was there to check whether everything was going according to the law and the wishes of the deceased. Besides these people, Leon and Vincent, who were twins, also came, but no one knew who they were. Ben was also their father, but they said quite candidly that he never had the chance to know the man personally. Raymond and Ray started turning over the ground, but they felt like they were digging into their own traumatic pasts and bringing whatever was embedded in their core to the surface. Raymond had begun 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 unfair life had been with him. Kiera told Ray that Ben used to listen to the same song in the hospital, over and over, during his last days. Ray felt broken. He played the trumpet as a child, but his father for some reason got angry with him and told him that he sold him to a pawnshop. That day, Ray searched all the pawnshops in the area, but he couldn’t find him. He found the trumpet in the parcel his father had left him. Ray had a tough childhood, and when he was little music was the thing that cured 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 listened to music for pain relief, it brought back old traumatic memories. The two brothers felt an explosion of emotion. Raymond pulled Ray’s gun from his car and fired at the coffin. His father had slept with his wife and got her pregnant. She had given birth to a boy, and Raymond had always thought he was her son until he learned he was his father’s son. Ben didn’t even bother to keep different names for his sons. He called them both Raymond. Their mother eventually started calling one of them Ray. This simple 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 on the enormous responsibility. He was not worthy to be called a father.
Ray was playing the trumpet. He played it to heal his pain. He played it to show his old man how wrong he had been all his life. Ben had left a letter for his two sons. In Raymond’s letter, he told her that Ray was not his son. Ray’s mother was 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 he wasn’t even his real father. Raymond never revealed this fact to Ray. The boys buried their fears, traumas, anger and frustration, along with their father’s grave. Their father was not a villain. Raymond and Ray had realized that maybe he was only like that with them, and that he was a good man for the rest of the world. They had no answer as to why he was like this to them. They didn’t understand what they could have done differently to avoid this trauma. But now it didn’t matter. The ghosts of their past no longer haunt them. Raymond decided to stay because he had found love. He was staying with Lucia, and this time he was lucky enough to be the father of his father’s son. Both laughed at the turn of events. Raymond and Ray looked forward to what life had in store for them and believed things would get better moving forward.
“Raymond and Ray” is a 2022 drama film directed by Rodrigo Garcia.