PG-13 for some language, thematic material and depiction of drug
Now I’ve asked you forty different ways and it’s time you come up with a fresh answer. -Johnny Cash
This story about Johnny Cash has a lot to do with his career and how he got there, but it’s mostly a love story about him and June Carter. Already plagued by the death of his brother at a young age, Johnny carried a heavy sack of guilt around that shunned a dark cloud on his view of life. He also knew what he wanted a went after it. He married the woman he wanted to marry and started his first record in spite of those that didn’t think he could. When he began to tour he set his sights on the lovely and talented June Carter, who was just out of his reach. June was the only thing he’d ever wanted that he couldn’t have, and like the death of his brother he began to let it consume him. The rest of the story showed how Johnny changed his life and the turmoils he went through to get to where he finally felt happy.
I’ve never really been into country music and never really listened to Johnny Cash, and what this movie really did was center itself around the music. I think I’ve developed a very real appreciation for Johnny Cash now. I wouldn’t go so far as to say country music in general, but June and him sound so pitch perfect together. The music is truly magical.
The story is obviously more intriguing because it’s dealing with character’s that are fascinating to the general public. Character’s that are real are so mystic like Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, and even in the film itself Johnny Cash is a mystery. He hasn’t even discovered himself threw the majority of the film. He is simply lovesick and tormented by the death of his brother. Between the sorrowful tunes with the excellent acting and really depressing, yet hopeful story, it’s no surprise when John realizes that June is the Angel his brother Jack was talking about.
It was a very dark romance story that really dealt with the real issues Johnny faced. The film centered around him and his relationship with June with his past as a developmental back story. What the two went through to be together was just gut wrenching. When Johnny tells June she is his best friend, it’s a moment of complete raw emotion and vulnerability and evokes the same emotion in the viewer.
- Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash
- Reese Witherspoon as June Carter
- Robert Patrick as Ray Cash
- Ginnifer Goodwin as Vivian Cash
- Waylon Payne as Jerry Lee Lewis
- Sandra Ellis Lafferty as Maybelle Carter
- Dan Beene as Ezra Carter
As far as the performances are concerned Reese Witherspoon was fantastic, infectious, and absolutely adorable as June Carter. However, seeing the film after her awarded Oscar, I am confused. She was great, no doubt, but she won and Joaquin did not? As the duo her performance was so much stronger because of his, and he clearly outshined her. I am very surprised. Joaquin Phoenix is one of the most talented actors available in existence today. He is still young and doing such outstanding pieces of work. And yet he still hasn’t been acknowledged for that golden piece of glory and I can’t figure why. Especially his role as Johnny Cash. He was so perfectly desperate and broken, and somehow the character of June was acknowledged by the golden glory. It’s a burn in my opinion. I understand why the academy has turned their head from Johnny Depp all these years due to his insane character’s and off center roles, despite his talent, but Joaquin has paid his dues in roles that are straight laced and immense. He deserves to win. He should have won as Commodus for best supporting in Gladiator. Nonetheless, the two leads were both remarkable and the chemistry between them was like fire. An additional mention goes to Robert Patrick who is just amazing in whatever he does. It’s refreshing to see him on screen so frequently in the last many years.
Ratings and Suggestions
This film is definitely adult oriented, especially with it’s allusions to drug abuse, but I don’t think it would be a bad view for those in their late teens, despite the “R” rating. What Walk The Line really boils down to is a story fueled by music, that tells it’s tale mostly threw it’s music. The visuals and exploring of each of the character’s is left for them to develop and get across in each scene they’re in. The movie itself is not exceptional, but the music and the story is. If anything it’s worth watching just to enjoy Joaquin Phoenix’s performance. This is a good once through for just about anybody. Walk the Line gets Two and Half out of Four stars.