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Walk the Line

Walk the Line is the 2005 biopic tracing the roots of country music legend Johnny Cash, as well as his relationship with second wife, June Carter. As someone who has, if nothing else, a vague recollection of Cash, I found him to be a refreshing topic for a film biography. Since his son's name is one of the names credited to the screenplay, I would think that it is probably pretty accurate as far as the facts are concerned, but that doesn't make it necessarily a great film.

Joaquim Phoenix is electrifying as Johnny Cash and totally nails the darkness and intensity of the character in a performance that I now think should have won him the Oscar. Phoenix completely loses himself in this character and turns in one of the greatest screen creations of a real life person ever. Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for her work as June Carter, but I was not nearly as impressed with her work as I was with Phoenix. It's a solid performance but Oscar-worthy? I don't know. Other than an amazing performance by Phoenix, what we get here is just another show biz biography with all the same tired scenes we've seen in every show biz biography, from the "My daddy was mean to me when I was a kid" scene to the "I don't really have a drug problem, I'm just misunderstood" scene.

Ginnifer Goodwin plays Johnny's first wife, who is drawn as such a total b*tch here you have to wonder why Johnny stayed with her. What makes this film worth seeing and what earned it this reviewer's rating is the breathtaking performance by Joaquim Phoenix as Johnny Cash.