Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
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.
You won't go out humming the filmmaking, but Walk the Line showcases two of this year's most vivid screen performances.
New York Observer:
It's the curious fact that for a man so revered, a movie about his life should be so unexceptional.
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.
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.
Ebert & Roeper:
A definitive portrait of one of most influential figures in modern American music.
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.
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.
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.
Paul Clinton (CNN.com),
Mangold's direction is excellent, and the script - - by Mangold and Gil Davis - - captures the complex characters without relying on biopic cliche.
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.
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.
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.
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.
True to its better-late-than-never romance, Walk the Line is a swooning musical Valentine's Day card just in time for Thanksgiving.
NPR's Fresh Air:
In spite of its standard biopic gaps and simplifications, Walk the Line gets the big things right.
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.
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.
Cash devotees may have a different reaction to this picture. In fact, although I liked it, my bet is that they will love it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[Director] James Mangold's mostly excellent Walk the Line is designed as a Christian epic.
A Johnny Cash biopic equally packed with music and frustrated love, Walk the Line goes from compelling to enthralling.
Walk the Line is a strongly acted, musically vibrant, conventionally satisfying biopic.
It doesn't leave you with much to think about, except maybe the empty vibrato of effective ventriloquism.
The musical sequences are the best thing about Walk the Line, and luckily they are plentiful.