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Walk the Line Movie Poster

Year: 2005
Director: James Mangold

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Cast:

Joaquin Phoenix (John R. Cash), Reese Witherspoon (June Carter), Ginnifer Goodwin (Vivian Cash), Robert Patrick (Ray Cash), Dallas Roberts (Sam Phillips), Dan John Miller (Luther Perkins), Larry Bagby (Marshall Grant), Shelby Lynne (Carrie Cash), Tyler Hilton (Elvis Presley), Waylon Payne (Jerry Lee Lewis (as Waylon Malloy Payne)), Shooter Jennings (Waylon Jennings), Sandra Ellis Lafferty (Maybelle Carter), Dan Beene (Ezra Carter), Clay Steakley (W.S. 'Fluke' Holland), Johnathan Rice (Roy Orbison), Johnny Holiday (Carl Perkins), Ridge Canipe (Young J.R.), Lucas Till (Young Jack Cash), Carly Nahon (Young Reba Cash), McGhee Monteith (Reba Cash)

Storyline:

While growing up in the Great Depression era, Johnny Cash(Joaquin Phoenix) takes an interest in music and eventually moves out of his Arkansas town to join the air force in Germany. While there, he buys his first guitar and writes his own music, and proposes to Vivian. When they got married, they settled in Tennessee and with a daughter, he supported the family by being a salesman. He discovers a man who can pursue his dreams and ends up getting a record with the boys. Shortly after that, he was on a short tour, promoting his songs, and meets the already famous and beautiful June Carter(Reese Witherspoon). Then as they get on the long-term tours with June, the boys, and Jerry Lee Lewis, they have this unspoken relationship that grows. But when June leaves the tour because of his behavior, he was a drug addict. His marriage was also falling apart, and when he sees June years later at an awards show, he forces June to tour with them again, promising June to support her two kids and herself. While the tour goes on, the relationship between June and John grow more,and his marriage to his first wife ends. June finds out about the drugs, and help him overcome it. True love and care helped John eventually stop the drug usage, and finally proposes to her in front of an audience at a show.

Reviews:

Whenever I see so much "Oscar worthy" tags/blurbs in an ad campaign I get nervous, see Cinderella Man. Usually you look closely at the fine print and see that the esteemed critic lauding the film is Joe Schmoe from the One Stop Light Bugle Press in Buttcreek, Illinois or a low level flunky who just happens to work for the media conglomerate that is distributing the film. So my heart sank a little when a film I have been eagerly awaiting was swaddled with such praise when the ads hit the air.

But they're right for once.

Joaquin Phoenix wears Johnny Cash like a suit. He isn't doing a Rich Little impersonation, you don't rub your eyes in disbelief, but he channels a man so distinct in appearance and voice to a level that is beyond admirable. One of the traits that made Johnny Cash a legend was that nobody sounded or looked like him. Short of a computer generated Cash walking around in his own bio-pic like one of those John Wayne beer commercials this is the definitive representation.

And yet Phoenix may not give the best performance in the film.

Reese Witherspoon more than holds up her end in a role that easily could have been reduced to a clichéd bumpkin. Witherspoon portrays the on-stage June in the way June portrayed her own "character", the stage persona that people adored, while giving her the resolve and inner strength to be the woman who tamed a hell-bent, grizzly bear of a man like John.

The chemistry of Phoenix and Witherspoon together in any scene, but their on-stage duets in particular, are truthful in a way that resonates long after the credits. I know that unless you have been living in a cave for the past week you have likely been bombarded with the word that the actors sing themselves without use of lip syncing. I have never been a fan of musicals, or even musical performances in a film. They generally seem forced and uncomfortable to me, the moment when I stop experiencing the story and feel reminded that I am watching a movie. I never felt that in this film. I never felt that their singing took the focus of the film, but the performances work with the story like no other music bio I have ever seen. I never felt as if I was being led through the catalog, the songs felt as organic and natural as any spoken dialog in a great narrative.

This film far exceeded my expectations and afforded me the first trip home from a theater with a true feeling of satisfaction in a very, very long time. Highly recommended.

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Wow, what a film. I had been waiting to see this movie since I read that Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were cast in the lead roles. I was not sure what to expect when I heard they were going to do their own singing, but was I ever impressed. Their performances in this movie were brilliant, and I had chills down my spine. It was truly amazing how much Phoenix sounded like Johnny Cash-this was a role he was born to play, and he was mesmerizing. Totally sizzling. Witherspoon was positively radiant as June Carter, and talk about chemistry between the two actors. Talk about lightning striking! I only hope they are rewarded for their efforts come Oscar time. This was a truly amazing movie, filled with great music, a top-notch supporting cast and a terrific script which was wonderfully directed.

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