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Walk the Line (2005)
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Review Date: January 05, 2006
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Gill Dennis, James Mangold
Producers: Cathy Conrad, James Keach
Actors:
Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny
Reese Witherspoon as June
Ginnifer Goodwin as Vivian
Plot:
The true-life story of musical legend Johnny Cash, aka The Man in Black, starting from his roots as the son of a son-of-a-bitch farmer, the tragedy that befell his older brother, his early gigs with folks like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, and oh yeah, his ongoing (read: undying) love for a hot little country gal named June Carter. Along the way, a lot of songs are sprinkled about, medications are mixed with alcohol and Joaquin Phoenix acts his ass off! And it burns, burns, burns…that ring of fire!!
Critique:
All together now, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaw, now wasn’t that the cutest little love story?” I’m generally not a major fan of your typical musical bio-pics in which we’re shown the rich artist as a poor, l’il child, only to turn into a kickass singer later in life, complete with tough breaks in love and all sorts of drug and alcohol problems. That said, if you’re looking at this film on paper, that’s pretty much what you get, but if you actually watch the movie, you’ll get a lot more out of it, mainly due to the film’s two lead actors, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, both of whom take over their real-life counterparts’ personas entirely, and deliver two of the most resonant performances of the year. I think most people have already said this, but allow me to say it anyway: if these two actors aren’t nominated for respective Oscars this year, something’s wrong with the system…baby! Phoenix especially shines as the man in black, covering his entire adult development from the young, struggling, strapping lad that he was, all the way through his rise to fame (he got to hang with the young Elvis and shit…wow!), his descent into booze and his unrelenting wooing of one June Carter. I swear the man even looked like J.C. in a few scenes and sounded like him to boot. Wow.

And if you ever thought that you were persistent over a girl in your life, watch this movie and be amazed at the number of years (if not decades) that he spends chasing after this one lady…it’s amazing! (no wonder the poor man was driven to drink!) But not only is his lifelong pursuit an extraordinary feat in persistence, but in the case of Carter (aka Witherspoon), it may just be the longest cock-tease ever recorded on film. I mean, really lady…how long can you string a poor bastard along?!? Seriously though, if deep love, a percolating romance and a handful of cute moments between two people in love acting foolish are your cup ‘o tea, this film is likely to fill you up and then some. Add that to a very cool soundtrack, sung impressively by the two actors themselves, a good sense of time and place, a pudgy Robert Patrick in the role of the a-hole dad and you’ve got yourself a fun, loving musical biopic that will never be accused of reinventing the wheel, but certainly delivers in heart, devotion, musical goodness and yes, even a piece of American history. As for me, I’m off to buy the film’s soundtrack. Yeah, you heard me…I’m actually gonna “buy” it, not download it. I’m old school.
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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12:30PM on 03/03/2006
I suppose that most bios do follow a certain "formula"--a person's past, their rise to fame as well as their own personal demons. In this case, the formula works quite well, thanks to the stupendous performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. As brilliant as Phoenix was here, with all of Cash's mannerisms and emotional struggles (and amazing vocal talent), it was Witherspoon that gave the film that extra bit of heart. Here's a woman who is as charming as can be, who after a LONG
I suppose that most bios do follow a certain "formula"--a person's past, their rise to fame as well as their own personal demons. In this case, the formula works quite well, thanks to the stupendous performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. As brilliant as Phoenix was here, with all of Cash's mannerisms and emotional struggles (and amazing vocal talent), it was Witherspoon that gave the film that extra bit of heart. Here's a woman who is as charming as can be, who after a LONG tease, eventually finds love in Cash, despite his own marriage falling to pieces, and ultimately, it is she who helps pull Cash out of his pit. She better take home that little golden statuette come Oscar night. We're also treated to some wonderfully infectious music via Phoenix and Witherspoon, both of whom have amazing voices. Oh, I also want to mention Ginnifer Goodwin here, who is also well-cast as Cash's wife, stuck in between Cash's musical endeavors and affairs as well as their family.

All in all, a really fun and emotionally engaging film.
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6:15PM on 02/12/2006
This Johnny Cash biopic had me interested throughout! "Walk the Line" is a much better film than "Ray", complete with outstanding performances, nice pacing, and well, some good music to go along. Joaquin Phoenix as Cash is the perfect casting, because I almost felt it was actually Cash himself. I also enjoyed Reese Witherspoon as June Carter, she deserves the oscar.

My only slight problem with this is that it delt a little to much with Cash's drug addiction. I wished it focused more on the
This Johnny Cash biopic had me interested throughout! "Walk the Line" is a much better film than "Ray", complete with outstanding performances, nice pacing, and well, some good music to go along. Joaquin Phoenix as Cash is the perfect casting, because I almost felt it was actually Cash himself. I also enjoyed Reese Witherspoon as June Carter, she deserves the oscar.

My only slight problem with this is that it delt a little to much with Cash's drug addiction. I wished it focused more on the love between Carter and Cash, but both storylines were interesting. "Walk the Line" is a must see.
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2:38PM on 01/26/2006

This is how you par tribute to the late greatJohnny Cash

To simply pit it, this is a great movie. Juaquin, did a phenomanal job as Johnny Cash. He didn't mimic who Johnny Cash was he was possesed by the ghost Johnny Cash, nailing every detail of him to the mediphorical wall. Then the fact he did his own singing and sound just like the man in black, was haunting, but in an oh so sweet way. This movie captures all the highs and lows and spans from his early childhood and through his rising years as an entertainer with his drug problem. Not a huge fan
To simply pit it, this is a great movie. Juaquin, did a phenomanal job as Johnny Cash. He didn't mimic who Johnny Cash was he was possesed by the ghost Johnny Cash, nailing every detail of him to the mediphorical wall. Then the fact he did his own singing and sound just like the man in black, was haunting, but in an oh so sweet way. This movie captures all the highs and lows and spans from his early childhood and through his rising years as an entertainer with his drug problem. Not a huge fan of Reese,but she did an awesome job as June Carter. Everyone who has the slightest love for movies has to see this movie, you won't be disappointed. The only shame is that since the damn oscars are so political, and since Jamie Foxx won last year for portraying Ray Charles, Juaquin will more than likely get robbed of an oscar that he deserves for this ground breaking performance.
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2:16PM on 01/16/2006

Great

Man oh man was this an excellent movie. I was entertained throughout and it had a great drama on how a guy has to get through life and the ups and downs of the music business. Joaquin Phoenix was great in his role as the Man in Black. Johnny Cash is one of my favorite music artists ever and Joaquin Phoenix did a great job. Reese Witherspoon did great too. Man this movie deserves and Oscar.
Man oh man was this an excellent movie. I was entertained throughout and it had a great drama on how a guy has to get through life and the ups and downs of the music business. Joaquin Phoenix was great in his role as the Man in Black. Johnny Cash is one of my favorite music artists ever and Joaquin Phoenix did a great job. Reese Witherspoon did great too. Man this movie deserves and Oscar.
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10:54PM on 01/11/2006

Oscar Winner!

Loved it! Best damn Biopic ever! I loved the singing.Everything is flawless in this movie. And you get to see Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis play his piano. Awesome!
Loved it! Best damn Biopic ever! I loved the singing.Everything is flawless in this movie. And you get to see Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis play his piano. Awesome!
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10:30PM on 01/10/2006

Like Ray, but with country music

Okay, now I agree with Joblo, I'm not very into those bio - films. Which made me wonder if I should go see this film. So, I said what the heck. After I saw it, I was extremely impressed. Even though the film walks in Ray's footsteps it still manages to be an excellent film.
Okay, now I agree with Joblo, I'm not very into those bio - films. Which made me wonder if I should go see this film. So, I said what the heck. After I saw it, I was extremely impressed. Even though the film walks in Ray's footsteps it still manages to be an excellent film.
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7:35AM on 01/05/2006
I'm a huge fan of Johnny Cash, so, going into this movie I had a lot of expectations, they were all pretty much met. The only thing that I have a problem with is that the maker's of the film took a lot of creative license towards the movie.

Both performances were amzing but Witherspoon's stands out. I'll be able to handle if Phoenix doesn't get nominated for an Oscar but if Reese Witherspoon doesn't win I'll be very very upset. She was the heart of the movie. Period.

Oh, and if
I'm a huge fan of Johnny Cash, so, going into this movie I had a lot of expectations, they were all pretty much met. The only thing that I have a problem with is that the maker's of the film took a lot of creative license towards the movie.

Both performances were amzing but Witherspoon's stands out. I'll be able to handle if Phoenix doesn't get nominated for an Oscar but if Reese Witherspoon doesn't win I'll be very very upset. She was the heart of the movie. Period.

Oh, and if anyone was wondering, the scene where he asks her to marry himwasn't just in "Ontario, Canada" it was in my home town "London, Ontario, Canada".
I hate it when American movies never name a town in Canada, when in every movie about someone or something in the States, the film makers HAVE to have us know the name of the smallest hick town.
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5:56AM on 01/05/2006
This is Phoenix's movie. The fact that no dubbing of his voice was done, he did all his own singing and talking, is beyond impressive. Throw in the fact that he has all of Cash's mannerisms, the appearance, the voice, practically everything. I don't know if he'll walk away with any gold come Oscar night, but he'll definitely be in the audience with a 1 in 5 chance of winning.

There's obviously a lot of similarities to last year's musical legend biopic Ray - tragedy in childhood, drug
This is Phoenix's movie. The fact that no dubbing of his voice was done, he did all his own singing and talking, is beyond impressive. Throw in the fact that he has all of Cash's mannerisms, the appearance, the voice, practically everything. I don't know if he'll walk away with any gold come Oscar night, but he'll definitely be in the audience with a 1 in 5 chance of winning.

There's obviously a lot of similarities to last year's musical legend biopic Ray - tragedy in childhood, drug problems, legal troubles, and such. But Walk the Line focuses more on the on again-off again romance between Johnny Cash and June Carter. I could call it more of a love story than a biopic. And it does work. There is a lot of good chemistry between the two leads, especially when there on stage performing. While the movie does deal with Cash's rise to fame and marriage to a childhood sweetheart, the main focus is the relationship between Cash and Carter. Props should go out to Reese Witherspoon for her performance alongside Phoenix as that I understand she did all of her own singing as well.

And if you're a fan of Johnny Cash, you should have no problem enjoying this movie. The flick has a lot of his music either for montages or during the performances scenes. Either way, it makes for some good times.
Unfortunately it does make for a longer movie. While I enjoyed the movie overall, it did tend to drag after a bit (kinda like Ray) and I started to wonder when the hell this thing ends. But once the finale does come around, it is very satisfying and along with Cash's music, the excellent performances, and the unexpected story following the love story, this is a very good movie.
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