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Primarily the story of the love that grew between country stars Johnny Cash and June Carter during the early years of Cash's career, WALK THE LINE is the result of intense collaboration between director James Mangold, co-writer Gill Dennis, Johnny Cash, and June Carter Cash. Though both Cashes died in 2003, they oversaw the script's development for seven years. Mangold and Cash's insistence that the film's stars would actually sing paid off. Witherspoon's singing (as June) is lovely, and Phoenix's contains the raw energy and soul that defined Cash's sound. Even as a child on a cotton farm in Depression-era Arkansas, Cash shows a strong interest in music, escaping from his no-frills life and strict father (Robert Patrick) through hymns and listening to the radio. When his brother dies in a freak accident, young Johnny feels responsible, and worries that he will never live up to his brother's goodness. The film follows Cash through his first marriage with Vivian Cash (Ginnifer Goodwin) and into the early stages of his touring career alongside such musicians as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, and most importantly, June Carter. As Cash's success grows, so does his relationship with drugs, alcohol, and Carter, putting a strain upon his family life. From his initial audition with Sam Phillips of Sun Records on through his legendary 1968 concert at Folsom Prison, Cash is transformed from a hesitant singer riddled with demons to a man whose uniquely bold style would make music history. WALK THE LINE never attempts to paint a full picture of Cash's prolific career, but instead focuses on the passions that drove his music and on the woman who gave him strength. With magical performances by Witherspoon and Phoenix, a haunting and inspiring American romance is brought beautifully to life.
Edition: Full Frame
Number of Discs: 1
Rating: PG-13 (MPAA)
Film Country: USA
Display Format: Full Frame
"Witherspoon's bubbly twang brings the brassy former child country star and future Mrs. Cash into adorable reality."
Film Comment - Chris Norris (11/01/2005)
"Phoenix is commanding, and Witherspoon is just plain sensational; she captures June's sassiness along with her levelheadedness....WALK THE LINE turns out to be an entertaining ride through musical history, flavored with a sweet romantic spirit."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - Stephen Farber (11/01/2005)
"[A] big, juicy, enjoyable wide-canvas biography with a handful of indelible moments....WALK THE LINE is zesty and satisfying."
Entertainment Weekly - Owen Gleiberman (11/25/2005)
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "There is something really special going on in WALK THE LINE....Phoenix and Witherspoon are dynamite, and their chemistry is palpable."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (12/01/2005)
3 stars out of 4 -- "[With a] very clear respect for Cash and his music...[and] two superb, heartfelt performances..."
Premiere - Glenn Kenny (12/01/2005)
"Cash and Carter's long infatuation, tumultuous relationship and eventual marriage provide the film with an emotional core."
New York Times - A. O. Scott (11/18/2005)
"WALK THE LINE goes from compelling to enthralling with star Joaquin Phoenix's breakout scene. His re-creation of 'Get Rhythm' is an exhilarating moment, with showmanship that truly surprises."
USA Today - Mike Clark (11/23/2005)
"Phoenix handles the transition from faltering baritone to growling basso profundo brilliantly, his voice dropping deep into his boots as Johnny's soul descends into the ring of fire."
Sight and Sound - Mark Kermode (02/01/2006)
4 stars out of 5 -- "It's a career-high channelling of the myth, the voice....Witherspoon nails Carter as a spritely, sun-tickled puppy-dog with the soul of a poet..."
Total Film - Andy Lowe (06/01/2006)
5 stars out of 5 -- "James Mangold's stunning biopic of Johnny Cash showcases a mesmerizing central performance from Joaquin Phoenix..."
Ultimate DVD - Nikki Baughan (05/01/2008)
"Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for her performance as June Carter....Her work as Cash's beloved wife is still startling for its humor, verve and intelligence."
Wall Street Journal (12/17/2010)