Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke are Raymond and Ray, half-brothers who will meet after almost five years without contact and after learning that their father has died. Although neither of them had been in contact with their father for years, his last wish was for both of them to come to his funeral, and although they are not enthusiastic about the idea, they will both reluctantly agree. And right away in those opening scenes, we learn their life stories. Or at least a good part. Raymond had several failed marriages behind him, Ray had problems with alcohol and drugs, and the old man was an asshole who directed and ruined both of their lives. But when they arrive at the place where the old man spent his last years in Virginia, they will realize that the people there remember him as a completely different person, that they valued and respected him.
And it will be only the first in a series of surprises of this darkly humorous drama, a tragicomedy that at first promised that it could be a juicy comedy in the footsteps of the unsurpassed “Death at Funeral” by Frank Oz. This, to my great regret, did not come true and until the end “Raymond & Ray” turned into one of those almost stereotypical stories about people who somehow have to come to terms with the past in order to move on with their lives. Although McGregor and Hawke are in solid form, as time passes, the story of the film shot by Rodrigo Garcia, a filmmaker who will certainly never reach the status of his father in literature, the legendary Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, falls.
So even though “Raymond & Ray” is not a film that will be remembered for a long time, it is far from the case that this black and dark drama will not have its moments. As time passes, we will find out why both half-brothers decided to end their relationship with their father, but when they meet people who knew his father, they will partly begin to question their own memories and experiences. One of the surprises will be the knowledge that they have another half-brother that the old man had with the attractive Mexican Lucia (Maribel Verdu), with whom he spent the last years. Only after their father’s death will they learn much more about him than they knew during his lifetime and who apparently loved playing with them so much that he gave them almost identical names.