An engrossing if episodic and occasionally stilted biopic of Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix – Gladiator, Joker), bad boy of 1960s country music.
From a poverty-stricken religious Arkansas dustbowl childhood, held responsible by this father for the death of older brother Young Jack, Cash struggled with self-worth and confidence. Music proved to be his saviour. But success bought its own demons – as he rose in popularity and record sales, so a self-destructive Cash struggled more and more with drug abuse. It was singer June Carter (Reese Witherspoon – Legally Blonde, Wild) who proved to be his saviour.
Immensely likeable, Walk the Line is buoyed by two superb central performances and a depth of support as Cash and Carter go on tour, early in their careers, with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins. These 1960s scenes are musically vibrant full of discovery, juxtaposed with later, serious years as Cash battles with drugs and love for Carter as his marriage to Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin – He’s Just Not That Into You, TV’s Once Upon a Time) crumbles.
Nominated for 5 Oscars in 2006 including best actor & sound mixing, won 1 – Reese Witherspoon and best actress.