Reese Witherspoon is one of my favorite actresses, so I’ve been wanting to see Walk the Line ever since I heard that she won an Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter Cash. However, I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to see the film because of the subject matter. I’m not a country music fan and barely know who Johnny Cash was, so I didn’t think I’d be all that interested in the film.
But I was pleasantly surprised by how good the movie was. Even without knowing anything about Cash or his music, I found that I was still able to enjoy Walk the Line. That’s because it was basically a love story about how Cash (played by Joaquin Phoenix — another brilliant performance) fell for Carter and pursued her for more than a decade before finally getting her to marry him. Their marriage lasted 35 years until June’s death in 2003. Johnny followed her to the grave just 4 months later.
I just watched Ray (the Ray Charles biopic) recently, so I felt that the plot of Walk the Line was very familiar. Poor kid suffers through tragic death of sibling. Check. Poor kid grows into young man determined to make his mark in music. Check. Success comes almost immediately. Check. With success comes alcohol and drug addiction. Check. With drugs and booze comes women. Check. Marriage falls apart. Check. Musician cleans up his act and becomes a legend. Check. See what I mean?
But Witherspoon’s presence as June Carter made all the difference in Walk the Line and kept me watching. This is definitely a movie that was worth all the Oscar hoopla. I give it 5 stars out of 5.