Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin
I don’t know how faithful this biopic is to Johnny Cash’s actual life, and frankly I couldn’t give a fuck whether it is or not. Alls I know is that it’s an incredibly formulaic romantic drama about a rock star, and I just can’t find myself caring about that same old worn-out story yet again.
Johnny Cash is a young man with a shitty job who wants to be a musician, but his wife doesn’t support him and his parents hate his guts and he gets popular despite them. He meets a pretty girl on the road and falls in love with her, but he starts doing drugs and his life spirals out of control. Eventually the girl helps him get better and he has a comeback album and marries the girl and his career gets back on track. See, if I hadn’t said “Johnny Cash” at the beginning of all that, this could apply to any movie about a musician, real or fictional.
Joaquin Phoenix does an okay job; mostly you can tell that he’s really good at mimicking the stage performances he’s obviously watched of Cash because he copies that pretty good, but loses all of it when he has to act outside of the stage. Reese Witherspoon is… awful, as usual. Sorry, I was really trying to think of something nice to say, but she’s just one of those pretty young actresses who think that acting is either smiling or pouting while saying words. I’m not even going to go into the songs because I honestly just don’t think it’s important at all. When you’re telling the “behind-the-scenes” story of a famous real person and you lean on the crutch of just playing as much of the stuff they got famous for, all you’re making is fluff for people to enjoy the things they already like.