Walk the Line (2005)
Reviewed on 2012 July 4
I’m not much of a fan of country music, but Johnny Cash is an exception; I’ve always liked the guy and his music. I wanted the DVD as soon as it came out, and as I’m sitting here on this July 4th, thankful for our over-taxed but working air conditioning and enjoying a nice plate of Grade-A lo mein as I re-watch the movie, I realize there will never be another Man in Black.
Cash (brought to life by Joaquin Phoenix) was dealt a rough hand in life, with a critical hardcase for a father (Robert Patrick) and tragedy at an early age. As soon as he can, he joins the army, probably just to get away from his dour, unforgiving old man. He marries Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin), who wants him to work for her daddy, but Johnny has other plans.
Johnny had a gift for music, even at an early age, and it’s his dream to be a singer. He cuts a record one day and his career takes off, but the rest of his life spirals out of control. The fame, the drugs, and the demons from his past are too much for him, despite his fame. His (initially) complicated relationship with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon, earning an Oscar® here) doesn’t make things easier for him either.
I had no idea Johnny had such a horrible childhood, and it makes me admire him even more; a lot of people would have just given up. Johnny had his struggles, and yet he became an incredible performer. When his career was re-established, he even focused more on helping others, i.e. the Folsom Prison concert. I had more empathy for his first wife than a lot of viewers seemed to; I can’t imagine watching your husband fall for another woman, especially one as dazzling and beloved as June Carter, and knowing you can’t do a thing about it. For her part June was pretty sympathetic too, not intending to poach Johnny and dealing with her own feelings about the whole thing.
Three chocolate morsels and a glass of sweet tea.