Walk the Line movie cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin
Walk the Line movie director: James Mangold
Walk the Line movie rating: 4 stars
Johnny Cash, Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, country music and a tumultuous love story in the backdrop. These are some of the key ingredients of the acclaimed biographical movie Walk the Line. Built around the life and times of country music legend Johnny Cash, Walk the Line is a touching feature about what it means to pursue your passion. While he was discovering himself, Cash crossed paths with singer June Carter. Their friendship grew into love and together they remained married for over three decades until June passed away. Four months post her death, Johnny Cash died due to complications arising from a form of diabetes.
However, what lives on is their love for music and each other. In the film, we are given a daring peek into Johnny’s drug and alcohol obsession, which pushed him away from June. To win her back, Johnny attempts to do away with his vices, but that door is held open only for a short while before he succumbs again. It is through a lot of faith and belief that both June and Johnny live the trying times, and it is that kind of faith which reflects back on you when you look into the eyes of Joaquin and Reese, who have both done an outstanding job in the movie. Reese especially excels as the vivacious June, who has too often been categorised as the chirpy, bubbly personality with some flair for singing. Reese brings forth June’s entire personality within the short span — her ferocity, her failings and her extreme compassion and love that she held for her partner. Incidentally, Reese ended up winning an Academy Award for her performance as June Carter in the movie.
The movie mostly sticks to the facts and takes only light cinematic liberties. In fact, it is one of those rare films on Johnny Cash that actually tells us that the very popular “Ring of Fire” was in fact written as a love song by June Carter for Johnny. She initially wanted to give the song to her sister, who was also a singer but ended up giving it to Johnny instead as he admired it deeply. Johnny ended up popularising the track by giving it his voice and the rest, as they say, is history.
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A word here for writer-director James Mangold as creating a worthwhile and engaging drama on a music legend is not an easy task. But thanks to Mangold’s hold on the material and his skill set, it all seems seamless and effortless. Exactly like a great piece of music does. The soundtrack, goes without saying, is off the charts.
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