Just saw the movie Walk the Line on DVD, and I've got to tell you, probably the second best movie I've seen this year ( Cinderella Man and Narnia: LWW are tied for first). But it's a really close second. Simply a great film, with great acting and the music is awesome. Joaquin Phoenix (as Johnny Cash) and Reese Witherspoon ( as June Carter) perfectly fit their roles and make them three-dimensional characters that you spend the whole movie rooting for as they exchange snappy dialogue, great songs, and memorable screen moments. A few of my favorites: June in the water with Johnny after he tries unsuccessfully to free a tractor; Johnny's proposal to June on the tour bus; and June's pivotal role in helping Johnny overcome his addiction to pills. While both of them sing and act admirable, I've got to say that I enjoyed Witherspoon's performance on a deeper level--she had so many aspects of personality to probe and a variety of different facets of her acting personality to use, from June's comedy routines in the beginning of the film to the determination and affection she shows John as she sticks by him through his recovery.
I wasn't a Cash fan before this film, so I didn't know any of the music, but I loved the songs they chose for the film, and the singing was great. I was also impressed that Phoenix and Witherspoon both learned their characters' instruments (the guitar and autoharp, respectively) well enough to play them in the film. The script is poignant, witty, funny, and always moving, and there is a strong sense of direction and story guiding this film, which makes the story flow well without feeling rushed or chopped up or directionless, like so many biopics (see last year's The Aviator for a prime example of directionless). It is an absolute crock that this film wasn't nominated for best picture, because it is truly the best (or second best) American film made this year. Lat time I checked, I thought that was important criteria for best picture nominees. But I guess this year the Academy overlooked all the films that made audiences feel good about themselves and society and chose the films that do the opposite. Oh well. I'm pretty confident Witherspoon will win for her role in Walk the Line and it will be very well-deserved.