Raymond & Ray review – trauma never really leaves you

By Amanda Guarragi
Published: October 21, 2022 (Last updated: October 29, 2022)


Garcia wrote an emotionally layered, heartfelt script about growing into yourself through trauma and how that pain never really leaves you.

Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor star in the Apple TV Plus film Raymond & Ray – this is our official non-spoiler review.

It’s always interesting to see the perception of people from a different point of view, and that’s what writer-director Rodrigo Garcia explored in Raymond and Ray. When half-brothers Raymond (Ewan McGregor) and Ray (Ethan Hawke) reunite when their estranged father dies, they discover that his final wish was for them to dig his grave.

Together, they process who they’ve become as men, both because of their father and despite him. Growing up Raymond and Ray had a tough childhood because their father wouldn’t treat them as children. They grew up in a trauma-filled household and even after they were out on their own, their experiences as children carried on.

Their upbringing affected every aspect of their life, and Garcia showed how these boys grew into very different men. He explores how that pain can manifest and be expressed differently. Raymond is a bit more reserved, and complacent and plays everything safe because it’s the opposite of what he went through as a child. His father’s connection is completely different from the one Ray had with him. On the other hand, Ray had abused substances to help make the pain go away, and when he got clean, life had other plans for him. This was all expressed through the many conversations they had during the drive to where their father was being buried.

During those conversations, the hints of their boyish selves would slowly creep through and garner an explosive emotional response. Garcia wrote an emotionally layered, heartfelt script about growing into yourself through trauma and how that pain never really leaves you. They both wanted closure with their father and instead, their anger gets the best of both of them. McGregor and Hawke had interesting chemistry because they felt close but it’s through a trauma bond, so they’re still distant from each other. You could feel their respect and understanding for what the other went through. 

What was so interesting about Raymond & Ray was the way Harris (Tom Bower) acted toward other people. The people who came to honor him in his time of death all spoke highly of him, and claimed that he was one of the nicest men that they’d ever met.

He went on to father three more children with other women, and they all seemed to be raised in a different, more loving way. When Raymond and Ray see their other half-brothers, they begin to question why it went so wrong with them. They felt like they never got the best version of their father and that shaped them to become the men they presently are.

The way Garcia structured this to have the burial at the very end made the third act incredibly strong. He shows that everyone grieves differently and that there is no right way to do anything. The way Raymond and Ray express themselves at the burial says quite a lot about their connection with their father, and what they remember of him.

Then, after that entire process, they try to piece themselves back together because even through his death, they still experienced another form of trauma. They wished ill on their father, even in death, and they couldn’t explain why. In the end, you don’t choose your family, but sometimes the people you experience the most with always have a way of leaving remnants of your past self. 

What did you think of Raymond and Ray? Comment below.

Additional reading:

Apple TV+, Movie Reviews, Streaming Service