Walk the Line (2005) is about the early life of country music singer Johnny Cash, his rise to fame and his love story with June Carter. It stars Joaquin Phoenix (Two Lovers, Gladiator), Reese Witherspoon (Pleasantville, Legally Blonde), Ginnifer Goodwin (He’s just not that into you) and a very botoxed Robert Patrick (Terminator 2).
I have to admit I knew nothing about Johnny Cash, nor June Carter, before I watched the movie. So, I cannot really tell if the story is accurate or if the characters are portrayed accurately. From what I gather, they are. Reese Witherspoon got an Oscar for her performance, after all! For information, in case you’re as little informed as I was, these are contemporary to Elvis Presley.
That aside, even if I did not know the music, it has rhythm, and it is a big part of the movie. Both Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix sang in the movie, no playback, and I have to say, they’re pretty good! After I watched the movie I listened to a couple of songs by Johnny Cash, and it is amazing how Phoenix managed to impersonate him!!
I am not a big fan of him in general, but I do have to admit Phoenix is magnificent as the tortured artist, addicted to drug and prisoner of his tough childhood memories and still grieving his brother.
Johnny Cash: It's funny, you know, because I haven't talked about Jack in a long time. After he passed I talked about him all the time. But I guess people grew tired of it... so I just stopped.
Reese Witherspoon avoids the cliché and plays beautifully, her on-stage June is sassy and funny, out of the stage she is a mother and a responsible woman who does not give in to drugs and alcohol, and manages to tame Phoenix. I was particularly impressed with how she got rid of her "hollywood" accent to take on the June personae fully.
Johnny Cash: My Daddy's right. It should have been me on that saw. Jack was so good. He would have done so many good things. What have I done? Just hurt everybody I know. I know I've hurt you. I'm nothin'.
June Carter: You're not nothin'. You are not nothin'. You're a good man, and God has given you a second chance to make things right, John. This is your chance, honey.