Walk the Line (2005)


Biography | Drama | Music | Romance


James Mangold




Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick, Hailey Anne Nelson, Dallas Roberts, Dan John Miller, Johnny Holliday, Larry Bagby, Shelby Lynne, Sandra Ellis, Tyler Hilton, Waylon Payne, Shooter Jenning, Clay Steakley, Jonathan Rice, Lucas Till, Ridge Canipe


A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's (Joaquin Phoenix) life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis.


Based on Johnny Cash's autobiography, "Walk the Line" is a quite engaging biopic enhanced by two great performances that make this film worth checking out.

Unfortunately, once the movie is over, you realize that is practically identical, both in direction and storytelling, to "Ray". Basically the only difference is the colour of the skin. The two films are so similar it's embarrassing.

This biopic uses the same map of storyline: both coming from a very poor background, both witness traumatic events involving their brothers, both in love with women more straight-laced then they are, both are drug addicts, both bottom out, both have an epiphany, and both rise with the help of family and friends.

I do realize that there are music biopics everywhere, and bringing something new was not easy, but director James Mangold could have done more. He did manage to capture the essence of the relationship between Johnny Cash and June Carter, but some sense of humour could have done here.

To balance the negative aspects there are equally positive aspects. Phedon Papamichael's cinematography, for example, is quite inspired - even though he has done better than this - and there's a lot of good music.

At last the performances. Joaquin Phoenix wears Johnny Cash like a suit and gives a mesmerizing performance able to communicate love for a woman as profoundly as I've never seen before. He also does his own singing. Reese Witherspoon is absolutely magnificent as June Carter - Academy Award fully deserved - and her chemistry with Phoenix pretty much carries the film.


  1. You're absolutely right about the performances of and chemistry between Phoenix and Witherspoon carrying the film. Without them, there would be nothing since, as you said, it is essentially the same film as Ray which came out the year before.

  2. I have to watch this. I love Reese Witherspoon!

    -Jannette | The Diary of a Daydreamer

  3. This is where the acting surpasses the weak script. You made another great review