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WALK THE LINE by James Mangold

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Born in 1932 and growing up on a cotton farm in rural Arkansas, Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) will suffer for a big part of his life from a sense of guilt after the early death of his brother and the disapproval of his reserved father who mourns that god took the wrong son from him. After his time in the Air Force in Germany Johnny marries Vivian and tries to make a living as a salesman, but with pitiful success.

A successful audition at Sun Records leads to Johnny’s successful career as a rock star, but life on tour with Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis and others estranges him from his wife and children. Alcohol, sex and drugs can’t numb his feelings of guilt and insufficiency, and fellow singer June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) doesn’t give in to his advances, fueling his frustrations.

There is a long way to go for Johnny Cash to find inner peace and earn the love of June.

Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant as the big, sad and angry man in black, and so is Reese Witherspoon as his muse June Carter. Both did their own singing and did a great job – the concert scenes are the highlights of the film, and no matter if you know or don’t know about Johnny Cash, WALK THE LINE is a pleasure to watch – and to hear!

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