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Friday, January 28, 2022

Joaquin Phoenix’s top five movies: Walk the Line, Joker, The Master and others

On Joaquin Phoenix's birthday, watch some of his greatest works.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
Updated: October 28, 2020 8:25:42 pm
joaquin phoenix(From left) A still from Joker and the poster of Walk the Line. (Photo: Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox)

That birthday boy Joaquin Phoenix is a masterful performer is not news anymore. And to pick only five movies from a formidable filmography is not an easy task. But if I had to recommend someone his work, it would be these five films. Take a look.


Tender, woeful and a modern tale of love, the 2013 Spike Jonze directorial takes ‘digital love’ to dizzying heights. And in it shines our leading man, Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix’s Theodore falls for his Operating System (brought alive by Scarlett Johansson’s voice). But is that feasible? Does that love hold? Amy Adams also features in this beautiful tale of isolation, heartbreak and love.

You can watch Her on Netflix.

The Master

It is difficult to describe The Master as it does not belong to any one genre. It is surreal, but also realistic. Said to be inspired by the tenets of Scientology, Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie boasts of electrifying performances by Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Gripping from start to finish, The Master is the story of a recovering war veteran who is trying to rediscover the meaning of life.

The Master is available for streaming on YouTube.


Joker aka Arthur Fleck is mentally disturbed, but no one seems to see or hear him. Everywhere he turns up, Arthur is shown the door. Tired of being turned down constantly by society, Arthur decides to take matters into his own hands and unleashes a side of him which is at once dangerous and unhinged. While the movie in itself failed to impress, Joaquin Phoenix was magnetic and incredibly believable as the broken and manic Joker. The actor won his first Oscar for the performance.

Joker is streaming on YouTube.

Walk the Line

Easily my favourite Joaquin Phoenix performance, Walk the Line is a well-shot, superbly acted biopic on country singer Johnny Cash. Phoenix embodied Cash. He even sang songs for the film. The actor’s chemistry with Reese Witherspoon was the highlight of the James Mangold directorial.

You can watch Walk the Line on YouTube.


In the 2000 movie Gladiator, Joaquin Phoenix ‘becomes’ the evil and conniving Commodus. With a hateful half a sneer always on his lips, the actor lived and breathed the role of the ancient warrior. Commodus’ intensity, his agility of the mind and the body were captured wonderfully by the actor’s performance. Russell Crowe, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou also starred in the Ridley Scott movie.

Gladiator is available to stream on YouTube.

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