Plot: A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash’s life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.
I’ve really had a very good run with my Blindspots this year. I really pretty much enjoyed every film on the list I’ve chosen, which makes it that much better than last year’s. I continued this good streak with Walk the Line, the 2005 biopic of Johnny Cash’s life. There is a bit more to the success of watching this film, as I’ve had the DVD for four years now. The protracted delay in seeing this reputably excellent film started to get silly, hence the adding to the Blindspot this year.
I enjoyed Walk The Line very much. Joaquin Phoenix is simply phenomenal as Johnny Cash. He manages to be tortured, sad, brilliant and talented. He has an excellent voice. His love story with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) is not some silly romance. It has depths and it develops over years of challenges for both of them. The film doesn’t try and make Cash a hero – they show a man who had a hard life and who had a lot of inner demons. His relationship with his father, Ray Cash (Robert Patrick), is hard and littered by a lifetime of resentment, anger and unresolved issues. I cannot praise Phoenix enough – the brilliance of his portrayal and the amazing voice he just pulled out of a hat and worked with. Ginnifer Goodwin has the undesirable task of being Cash’s first wife Vivian, a woman who was clearly never happy with anything Cash did for his family. She came across as the quintessential housewife of the 1950’s – bored, whiney and unhappy with everything that she ever received. In contrast Reese Witherspoon is the bounciest of bouncies with June Carter. Witherspoon has a surprisingly sweet voice and she delivers the performance of her life as Carter. She manages to portray a woman who is successful, charming and very much human. Her Oscar as best actress in a Leading Role is well deserved, though I do wish that Phoenix received an Oscar for his role as well.
The soundtrack is another rousing success. Littered with Cash’s poignant work, the soundtrack tells a story all on its own. I also really enjoyed the pacing of Walk The Line – it is never slow or boring and it doesn’t lose track of the story it is trying to sell.
I am so happy I finally sat down and watched this – I’ll definitely watch it again. Have you seen Walk The Line? Did you like it?