This was such a good film. Unbelievably so. If you love country music, and if you are a Johnny Cash fan, don’t miss this one. I loved this film! The film dramatizes his life in a way that makes you identify very strongly with Johnny Cash.Joaquin Phoenix deserved the academy award for his portrayal of Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line.” He did it so well, that the difference in appearance between Cash and Phoenix did not matter. (The only other really convincing portrayal of a singer that was as good as Phoenix’s was Curt Russell’s portrayal of Elvis.)
WARNING - In order to review this film and discuss its meaning, I have to reveal the ending. So . . . if you don't want to know what happens in the end, please don't read this until after you have seen the film.
The music was fantastic. The movie is seen and heard at its best at home with a good 5.1 sound system and a front projector system. After seeing the movie I bought the Johnny Cash CD. The songs that Cash did sounded a little different than songs in the movie. But that didn’t matter, as I liked both Cash’s and the movie songs equally. I felt that the songs in the movie seemed more rocky that the originals. They sounded the way I remembered the original songs sounded. This was because when I heard the original songs when they first came out, they sounded as rocky to me then as the movie’s more rocky music sounds now. (This concept was used in First Knight. The idea was that to the medieval people, their music sounded as rocky as Queen does to us now.)
One of my favorite songs was the shoe shine boy song. I liked the way Johnny Cash was walking by a shoe shine stand, and the workers were shining shoes to a rhythm. This was a very clever touch by the director as you just know that the song is coming up.
The film gave an excellent picture of Cash’s early life, and the tragic accident that happened to his brother. The harshness of the life that gives birth to many a country music star was shown very well. One could understand the meaning of the phrase “paying your dues.”
The Sun Records scenes were among my favorite. I have seen enough movies that had Sam Phillips in them, and the actor who played him in “Walk the Line” did a brilliant job. He seemed to be a down-to-earth decent person. His speech to Johnny about how to be inspired to write a song was beautiful.
Reese Witherspoon, who played June Carter, was perfect. Not only did she sing will, she was truly convincing as the love of Cash’s life. I was disappointed that they did not put in the song about the unbroken circle that Cash did with the Carter family.
One of my favorite scenes was the one in which the producers did not want Cash to play in prison. Cash’s comment that anyone who did not want him singing there was not a Christian is a biting comment on phony Christians.
The ending was of the film was very sad, but tastefully done.A very meaningful movie which gave me an understanding of Johnny Cash. Buy the movie, it is a worthy addition to your library.