Walk the Line (2005)

Wonderful! Masterpiece! Oscar Material! That is what people are saying about this film, but I was a little disappointed.

The film chronicles aspects of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his childhood on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis.  It covers, his marriage to Vivian (played by Ginnifer Goodwin), his love affair with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) and how he eventually cheats on his first wife.  Through most of the film he suffers from drug addiction and everyone around him suffers too.

The last 35 years of his life, being the happiest, having beaten his drug addiction and having married June Carter is not covered in the film.  The film focuses almost entirely on the most painful aspects of his life, which I found depressing.  

Also, I was hoping to learn about his ideas about the world and how they found their way into his music, but I was disappointed.  His music is unusual in that it is sympathetic to men who are not empowered and even those in prison.

In TV tributes to Johnny Cash after his death, his friends described him as having great insight, wisdom, and caring for others.  I saw none of that in the film.  Johnny Cash in this film, did what he wanted, when he wanted, regardless of who it hurt.  He did not appear wise at all.

The life of June Carter is covered almost as much as Johnny Cash's.  She plays the heroine who saves Johnny.  Reese Witherspoon did a wonderful job with the character of June Carter and even sang the songs herself and learned to play the auto-harp.

Joaquin Phoenix, is also compelling as Johnny, but I think that much of the swooning over this movie has to do with the June Carter character and Reese Witherspoon's acting.  She almost steals the movie.

The characters of Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis make an appearance, which is a treat.

If you are a big fan of Johnny Cash or June Carter, then you have to see this film.  All-in-all I enjoyed it, but felt that it could have been so much more.

                                       - Reviewed by Paul G.

fair & honest

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