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Overall Rating
4.29

Awesome45.99%
Worth A Look: 40.88%
Average: 10.95%
Pretty Bad: 0.73%
Total Crap: 1.46%

11 reviews, 71 user ratings


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Walk the Line
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Mark Rodger-Snelson

"A fine tribute to the Man in Black"
4 stars

Following last year’s excellent Ray, Walk the Line is yet another fantastic biopic of a music legend – the man in black, Johnny Cash. It covers the early days on his family farm, his musical influences, his rise to fame, his addictions and most importantly the love story that led him to salvation.

The movie opens with Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) reflecting backstage before the second set of his famous Folsom Prison show. We are then taken back to Johnny’s childhood where times were tough on his family’s cotton farm where his father was less than supportive of his love of music and preferred him to concentrate on working fields. A family tragedy follows which continued to haunt him throughout his life.

Also covered in the film is his famous audition with Sam Phillips at the now legendary Sun Studios where Johnny Cash walked in off the street and demanded an audition. It is at this audition that Sam almost shows them the door after they play a second rate gospel song but decides to give them one more chance asking Johnny to play something that he had written himself. The song he chose to play which led to him be signed and started an amazing musical career was Folsom Prison Blues. Fame soon follows which leads to a family breakdown despite the fortune that his success was bringing. This breakdown was due to a familiar cycle for many a musician of that era – drugs, booze, groupies and too many nights on the road.

Far from just been a history lesson, Walk the Line is mostly a love story focusing on his relationship with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). This union probably saved his life and his career. Although Johnny and June were in close range of each other whether it be on or off the stage, it was a number of years after Johnny’s separation from his first wife before June would trust him enough to be her partner. It seems that she put up with his antics out of equal parts pity and admiration. It took a lot of patience and determination for her to finally make him respect himself and, in turn, make him the man she wanted to spend the rest of her years with.

The two lead performances are career bests for both Phoenix and Witherspoon. Phoenix nails the Cash drawl and his stone faced personality whilst Witherspoon shines as she seamlessly transforms between Carter’s goofy onstage character and her undeniably strong offstage persona. As well as excellent performances, Walk the Line is backed with a strong script, tidy direction, fantastic sets and costuming making it a superior biopic.

Then there is the music (of which there is plenty) which really could have been the make or break factor for Walk the Line considering they were not using original Cash recordings and instead recreating them from scratch. The musical direction from T-Bone Burnett (O Brother Where Art Thou) is superb and although Phoenix does not get quite as low as Cash’s distinctive booming vocal style, he does a mighty fine job as does Witherspoon with June Carter’s nasally bluegrass tones.

Walk the Line is bound to please fans of Johnny Cash and will certainly convert many people who are unfamiliar with this work after watching this film – and what fun they will have discovering the legacy of music that he left behind when he passed away in 2003

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12838&reviewer=388
originally posted: 02/28/06 15:58:41
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/27/16 Joanie One of Joaquin Phoenix's best movies. 5 stars
5/16/11 Dr.Lao Well acted but painted-by-the-numbers musician biopic 3 stars
8/01/10 the dork knight Boozy musician is an older than dirt trope. Still, Pheonix is great as adorkable Cash 5 stars
2/21/09 tracy what are the pills that he is taking in the movie? 5 stars
8/27/08 Jeff Wilder Pretty good. Different from Ray in its approach to the story. 4 stars
5/29/08 PAUL SHORTT A STRONGLY ACTED, MUSICALLY VIBRANT, CONVENTIONALLY SATISFYING BIOPIC 4 stars
5/09/08 Karrie Millheim Its a great movie, a real good job of showing them 5 stars
12/27/07 Ionicera typical musician biopic, nothing that special here 3 stars
10/19/07 catherine garcia so real 5 stars
10/18/07 Beau great film! an enjoyable film with great performances 4 stars
3/06/07 Robin Hudspeth Great movie, shows the ugly side as well as the good of this love story. 5 stars
2/23/07 dmitry At best a mediocre TV movie of the week...someone should tell Mr.Phoenix to stop acting 1 stars
2/20/07 Tiffany I loved this movie. Reese witherspoon is good in every movie. 5 stars
11/25/06 Janet I REALLY ENJOYED THE MOVIE IT WAS GREAT JOAQUIN AND REESE DONE A AWESOME JOB 5 stars
11/05/06 kid reese witherspoon was born for this movie. she was excellent. she sang good, she acted good 5 stars
10/06/06 Kara I loved it! 5 stars
8/13/06 cody a very good movie about life johnny cash and june carter, reese witherspoon is awesome 4 stars
8/05/06 jalnaiz good, very motivating 5 stars
7/29/06 Heather Marie worth a try 4 stars
7/28/06 Lizzie not this one 2 stars
7/17/06 JenDenmark Great acting, good story, quite entertaining! 5 stars
5/01/06 Del Other people's lives are more interesting than mine 5 stars
4/28/06 Hilda semen THis movie was stupid!!!!!!!!!! This should never be shown again!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
4/21/06 Becky One of my favorites. Great impersonations on the voices, good character devel. 5 stars
4/19/06 Bill Chubbuck Reese is perfect 5 stars
4/01/06 Rose Marie this is an extrodinary film about a legendary star. I thought it was one of the best films. 5 stars
3/25/06 Lea Anne I ABSOLUTELY loved the movie...had no idea that they were doing their own singing. 5 stars
3/23/06 Annie G Just because a famous singer dies, doesn't automatically mean his life is worthy of a movie 3 stars
3/18/06 Elizabeth Go watch it. Now 5 stars
3/18/06 Hydrogen Amazing. A great movie, worthy of all its praise. 5 stars
3/18/06 MP Bartley Utter formula...but mixed to perfection. Phoenix and Witherspoon are wonderful. 5 stars
3/15/06 Shannon Robles jouquin pheonix was brilliant, when you are watching the movie you really believe that you 5 stars
3/13/06 Roderick Cromar I liked this one. 4 stars
3/08/06 Carolyn Rathburn Wonderful, loved it, well done 5 stars
3/08/06 James good movie, 2 disc dvd special features are crap worst special edition ever 4 stars
3/08/06 Katie Amazing performances by Reese and Joaquin along with impressive singing. 5 stars
3/07/06 Nobody Good movie, good acting, plenty of Cash songs. What more do you want? 5 stars
3/04/06 Green Gremlin Johnny Cash will always kick ass !!!!! 5 stars
2/25/06 PAG Great movie. One of the best from 2005. 5 stars
2/13/06 alice Great acting ! 5 stars
2/09/06 helen bradley Joaquin Phoenix great, bit slow in parts 4 stars
1/21/06 Kristina Williams That end scene brought tears to my eyes...great flick 5 stars
1/17/06 Jared Wilson With all the stories they could tell, they told the same story as Ray did in 2004. Shame. 3 stars
1/13/06 Rosita It is so natural 5 stars
1/01/06 ALDO Robert Patrick rules. Yeah, formulaic, but much better than Ray,which felt like a TVmovie 4 stars
1/01/06 carol whoa! I grew up with this music, also in my home we listened to leadbelly... this is rural 5 stars
12/25/05 Reese rather see a movie abour a boy named Sue 3 stars
12/24/05 Mike V Formula bio-pic - but extremely well done. 5 stars
12/22/05 tina mateer great,wonderful movie of johnny cash and june! I plain on buying the dvd someday 5 stars
12/18/05 ownerofdajoint Struggling to overcome life's endless battles with brokenness is done well here 5 stars
12/07/05 malcolm great performances, but these musician bio movies are pretty much all the same 4 stars
12/01/05 bobbi What's the point? Is the movie saying that he's a hero for leaving his wife? 3 stars
11/30/05 Sandra Kerbow Wonderful. I will buy it and watch it over and over 5 stars
11/29/05 Suzz great performances make this worth seeing 4 stars
11/29/05 Marilyn Awesom Strong performances loved the music 5 stars
11/28/05 millersxing A weepy introduction to Johnny Cash for the uninitiated. 3 stars
11/27/05 Billie This was awesome. I've already seen it twice and will buy the DVD when it comes out 5 stars
11/26/05 Ahnold Great movie to introduce Cash to younger generation. Strong performances by all. 5 stars
11/26/05 ajay certainly worth a look. 4 stars
11/25/05 Idiot_for_LMP Great Performances as the buzz has been saying. Didn't like the story. Not a Cash fan. 3 stars
11/23/05 bentable Just wow 5 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Very strong acting. Contrived story. Cash was the man! 4 stars
11/22/05 Taylor Fladgate This movie will stay with you for days. 5 stars
11/22/05 Sasha This movie really moved me, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. Oscars better be handed out 5 stars
11/20/05 Joe Smaltz Oscar material all the way 5 stars
11/19/05 Jonathon Holmes nothing more than a retrad of "Ray" 3 stars
11/19/05 Rick Rivera This film honors an amazing talent and a couple that truly completed one another. 5 stars
10/24/05 Reini Urban Mangold learned some tricks, but still is Mangold. Strong Witherspoon indeed 4 stars
10/17/05 caitlin Witherspoon should get a BA nom. 5 stars
10/13/05 Bob Moore performance risks taken with gratifying results 5 stars
9/30/05 walktheline This movie was amazing. I loved Joaquin and especially Reese. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Nov-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Feb-2006

UK
  03-Feb-2006 (12A)

Australia
  02-Feb-2006




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