Walk the Line 2005

Critics score:
82 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Phoenix is terrific in Walk the Line - - the actor's taciturn, brooding persona dovetails beautifully with the role - - but it's his scenes opposite Witherspoon that give the movie its real spark. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: You won't go out humming the filmmaking, but Walk the Line showcases two of this year's most vivid screen performances. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: It's the curious fact that for a man so revered, a movie about his life should be so unexceptional. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: I advise you catch up with Walk the Line, if only for Ms. Witherspoon's transcendent joyousness as a still-growing legend within a legend. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Walk the Line is less music history than love story, and it comes down to the performances of the two people at its center, both of which are splendid. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: A definitive portrait of one of most influential figures in modern American music. Read more

Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: It's engaging, involving stuff, walking a fine line between reality and art. Read more

AV Club: Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: In Walk the Line, Joaquin Phoenix doesn't look exactly like Johnny Cash. He doesn't sound exactly like Cash, either. But he is Johnny Cash. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: The film sends you home moved and in a tuneful mood. Read more

Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times: The movie is less an uncharted journey than a 2 p.m. bus tour of a music industry legend. But like an expert guide, Mangold shepherds the story with enough grace, energy and skill to make it worthwhile. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: Joaquin Phoenix isn't Johnny Cash. But with the clip-clop of rhythms behind him, aiming his guitar like a gun, he puts on one sensational show. Read more

Paul Clinton (CNN.com), CNN.com: Mangold's direction is excellent, and the script - - by Mangold and Gil Davis - - captures the complex characters without relying on biopic cliche. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Who wouldn't want to see a movie about how Johnny Cash became Johnny Cash? Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: While Cash and Carter's music gives the movie its undeniable soundtrack, it's their thwarted yet constant tale of friendship and love that makes Walk the Line a big-movie pleasure. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: A big, juicy, enjoyable wide-canvas biography with a handful of indelible moments, but it's just compelling enough to make you wish that it had attained the level of artistry of those other films. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Walk the Line isn't a bad movie. It's just a shallow and superficial one. Read more

Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News: In summary, it sounds like Ray revisited. But Walk the Line has its own provocative style and a group of outstanding performances. Read more

Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly: Walk the Line is an engaging biopic that would totally lack surprise were it not for Reese Witherspoon, and a healthy touch of ambivalence about the populist myth that bound The Man in Black to his adoring public. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: True to its better-late-than-never romance, Walk the Line is a swooning musical Valentine's Day card just in time for Thanksgiving. Read more

Ken Tucker, New York Magazine/Vulture: Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: At its most basic levels, Walk the Line does what it's supposed to. Read more

David Edelstein, NPR's Fresh Air: In spite of its standard biopic gaps and simplifications, Walk the Line gets the big things right. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR.org: Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: Mangold was wisely generous with the amount of musical performance he included in the film, and the later scenes -- showing Cash and Carter as partners -- are so well shot and edited, they defy you to sit still. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Walk the Line is a spirited and winning reminder of the man before he became the legend, of the giant shadow he cast, and of the remarkable woman who cast her shadow over him. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Cash devotees may have a different reaction to this picture. In fact, although I liked it, my bet is that they will love it. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Johnny Cash sang like he meant business...Walk the Line, with its dead-on performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, helps you understand that quality. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: If Walk the Line isn't the full story of Johnny Cash, it's at least a crucial corner of it, a way of coaxing a legend down to a human scale, without shrinking that legend away to nothingness. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: A passionate, warts-and-all chronicle of an extraordinary American artist, not to mention a love story that can't be beat. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: There's no mistaking the sound of Johnny Cash, and Walk the Line gets it just right. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: The problem is that the movie plays down almost everything that made Cash great: the train rumble of a voice, the direct, poetic truth of his best lyrics, the invention of his outlaw image and his constant creativity. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Most Johnny Cash fans probably don't care that much about how their hero ended up with June Carter. Therein resides the main problem with Walk the Line's devotion to simple truth over cherished fable. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: [Director] James Mangold's mostly excellent Walk the Line is designed as a Christian epic. Read more

Time Out: Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: A Johnny Cash biopic equally packed with music and frustrated love, Walk the Line goes from compelling to enthralling. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Walk the Line is a strongly acted, musically vibrant, conventionally satisfying biopic. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: It doesn't leave you with much to think about, except maybe the empty vibrato of effective ventriloquism. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: The musical sequences are the best thing about Walk the Line, and luckily they are plentiful. Read more