Directed by: James Mangold
Written by: Johnny Cash (book), Gill Dennis, and James Mangold
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon and Ginnifer Goodwin
In all the production stages of Walk the Line, James Mangold worked with dedication to be as true as he possibly could to Johnny Cash’s story. This may have had something to do with the fact that the legendary singer song-writer was on set a lot of the time, forming friendships between the actors and director before he passed away.
Walk the Line beautifully captures Mangold’s sense of commitment and investment in telling Johnny Cash’s quietly compelling and deeply felt experiences in life, coming from a family based in rural Arkansas to winning the hearts of millions who were drawn to his presence onstage. While much of the film covers Cash’s (Phoenix) struggles with family, drugs and permanent love affair with June Carter (Witherspoon), the blinding lights and movement of Cash’s stage performances also gives visual life and animation to the singer’s passion for music.
Combine this with near-perfect performances by Phoenix and Witherspoon, and you have a biopic that does justice to an iconic figure who carried a lot more burdens than what he tells in his lyrics.