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"WALK THE LINE"
(2005) (Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Extreme Mild Heavy Moderate Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor None Heavy Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Heavy Heavy Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A rising country star must contend with his fame and addiction to prescription drugs as he pursues his career and a touring partner in this look at the life of Johnny Cash and June Carter.
PLOT:
It's 1944 Arkansas and J.R. (RIDGE CANIPE) and Jack Cash (LUCAS TILL) are two brothers who are obviously close and love music, despite having an overbearing and mean father in the form of Ray Cash (ROBERT PATRICK). When Jack is accidentally killed in an accident, Ray claims that the devil is responsible and took the wrong son, thus forever affecting how young Johnny views his father.

Years later, and after serving a stint in the Army, Johnny (JOAQUIN PHOENIX) is married to Vivian (GINNIFER GOODWIN), has a child with her, and isn't very good at being a door to door salesman in Memphis, Tennessee. He then happens upon a small recording studio run by Sam Phillips (DALLAS ROBERTS) who he convinces to let him, guitarist Luther Perkins (DAN JOHN MILLER) and bassist Marshall Grant (LARRY BAGBY) audition. Sam isn't impressed and says that their gospel music won't sell, asking if they have anything else.

When Johnny starts playing and singing a song he penned while in the service, he creates a sound that soon makes him a sensation. It's not long before he's touring with the likes of other up and coming stars such as Elvis Presley (TYLER HILTON) and Jerry Lee Lewis (WAYLON MALLOY PAYNE), but Johnny is most interested in June Carter (REESE WITHERSPOON) who's been a performer most of her life.

While on tour with her and the others, Johnny starts falling for her, but various conditions and events prevent anything from blossoming. And that mainly pertains to Vivian who's back home and upset with Johnny over never being around for her and their kids, as well as his growing dependency on prescription medication. With that affecting his career, Johnny must choose what to do with his life as he continues to pursue his music career as well as June's heart.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans or anyone in the cast, the real Johnny Cash or old-style country music, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some language, thematic material and depiction of drug dependency.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JOAQUIN PHOENIX plays the legendary performer who becomes a huge hit but is tortured by both his unreturned love for June and his addiction to prescription drugs. He nearly loses everything before getting his act together (and going through withdrawal), smokes, drinks and briefly uses strong profanity. He also cheats on his wife with June (and others).
  • REESE WITHERSPOON plays the lifelong country music performer who ends up on tour with Johnny but finds herself torn between being attracted to him and the way he behaves as well as his addiction to those pills. She sleeps with him once before eventually agreeing to marry him.
  • GINNIFER GOODWIN plays Johnny's young wife and mother of his children who isn't happy that he's touring most of the time, that he has many female fans (and obviously has a liking of June) or that he becomes addicted to drugs.
  • ROBERT PATRICK plays Johnny's stern and demeaning father who always puts him down, especially following his brother's accidental death.
  • DALLAS ROBERTS plays the recording studio owner who turns Johnny into a star.
  • DAN JOHN MILLER plays the wisecracking guitarist in Johnny's band who smokes and drinks.
  • LARRY BAGBY plays the quieter bassist who also drinks.
  • TYLER HILTON plays a young Elvis Presley who reportedly takes the same drugs as Johnny, but we don't see that.
  • WAYLON MALLOY PAYNE plays a young Jerry Lee Lewis, a wild showman who tours with Johnny and the others and drinks with them.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is present, as are implied and off-screen sexual encounters (we see a couple in bed afterwards - no nudity).

    Those affairs involve a man cheating on his wife, one of several things that lead to tense family moments (he also has a father who's demeaning to him his entire life). As a boy, that character loses his brother to a table saw accident (not seen, but we see the bloody and dying boy).

    Various characters participate in damaging property in several scenes, while a husband and wife briefly scuffle and a couple chases away a drug dealer using guns. The latter character provides prescription pills to the main character who becomes addicted to them (and then goes through withdrawal when he finally stops). He and other characters also smoke and/or drink, some to the point of inebriation, while various forms of bad attitudes are present, as is some potentially imitative behavior.

    A few scenes may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers, while several songs contain violence and/or drug-related lyrics. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A guy carries a case of beer into a recording studio where we later see several bottles sitting around the place.
  • When Johnny returns home late at night, Vivian asks if he's drunk and he shakes his head that he isn't (and he's not).
  • Johnny has a beer and then takes some pills from another man who says they're what Elvis takes (Johnny only has them in his hand).
  • Jerry Lee has a beer.
  • Johnny takes some pills.
  • We see Johnny kissing another woman, while a second is also there, but Johnny is literally falling down drunk or drugged.
  • We see a man sitting on the curb holding what's presumably alcohol in a brown paper bag.
  • Johnny takes more pills.
  • Johnny is jittery (from the drugs) and bashes his head back against a wall. He then knocks things around, smashes his guitar and then rips the sink from the wall.
  • Johnny, his band-mates, Jerry Lee and others drink and are drunk during the day (we see many broken beer bottles on the stage). June reprimands them for this and then throws several beer bottles at them, making them scramble for cover.
  • Johnny takes more pills.
  • About June's latest marriage, Johnny asks her (while seemingly high on drugs, and in front of others) if she thinks "this one will take."
  • Johnny acts drugged again.
  • Miscellaneous people drink backstage after a concert.
  • The band carries beer in an elevator at their hotel. Johnny then offers a beer to June back at her room and she says she doesn't know if she should.
  • June sees Johnny take more pills. He later has the jitters from them, takes more pills and then shows up drugged on stage. He acts weird, berates his band, kicks a microphone and stage light, and then collapses on the stage.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in the audience at a Vegas show.
  • Johnny states that he needs his pills.
  • Johnny gets more pills and a beer while in a car, presumably in Mexico. He's later busted by U.S. agents who find a stash of drugs hidden inside his guitar (he goes to jail for this). He later tells Vivian that they're all prescription medication, but that he got in trouble for buying them across the border. She doesn't believe him and sarcastically says that everyone else must be lying about that.
  • Johnny has a beer by him.
  • Johnny wakes up and drinks from an open beer bottle.
  • Johnny buys more pills and is then all jittery from taking them.
  • Ray sees Johnny down more pills with a beer at Thanksgiving.
  • Ray states that he quit drinking a long time ago.
  • Johnny goes through withdrawal from stopping taking his pills.
  • While performing in front of prisoners, Johnny sings a song about taking cocaine and shooting his woman down. More lyrics about cocaine follow that.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Johnny sees bloody material in a wash pan and then sees his brother lying mortally wounded in bed (presumably from a table saw accident), with blood on the sheet covering him and the boy convulsing a bit.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • In a flashback, the boys' father yells at them about the radio they're listening to.
  • Ray uses the term "niggers."
  • Ray kicks a can in anger in response to his wife saying they're not getting rid of the piano.
  • Angry at his oldest son's death, Ray angrily tells young Johnny that the music he's listening to is nothing, which is also what he thinks of Johnny. He then says the devil did this and that he took the wrong son (in front of Johnny).
  • Johnny and Vivian develop bad attitudes toward each other as their marriage becomes strained.
  • While alone, Johnny goes to kiss June, but she pulls back, saying that she's just gone through a terrible divorce and that he's married.
  • A store clerk reprimands June, telling her that she's surprised her parents still talk to her and that divorce is an abomination (June is recently divorced).
  • Johnny tells June that he forgot his daughter's birthday (and is looking for a gift).
  • Johnny is jittery (from the drugs) and bashes his head back against a wall. He then knocks things around, smashes his guitar and then rips the sink from the wall.
  • About June's latest marriage, Johnny asks her (while seemingly high on drugs, and in front of others) if she thinks "this one will take."
  • As June talks with Johnny's kids, Vivian gets mad and tells her to stay clear of her children.
  • Johnny has sex with June while still married to Vivian.
  • Vivian finds Johnny putting up photos on the wall, most of them of June or Johnny and June. She then takes one, runs away from Johnny and then smashes the photo in the kitchen. She then starts hitting on Johnny until he gets control of her on the floor. We then see that their kids have been watching this and are upset. Moments later, she then drives the kids off in the car.
  • Ray is still demeaning to Johnny in front of others, saying (about Johnny's new house) that it's not as big as Jack Benny's. He then says that Johnny has nothing.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • In a flashback, Johnny's brother is working a large table saw and loses control of it, prompting young Johnny to race up and disable the machine. Later, young Johnny is walking alone on the road when his father picks him up and hurriedly drives him back home. Once inside, Johnny sees bloody material in a wash pan and then sees his brother lying mortally wounded in bed, with blood on the sheet covering him and the boy convulsing a bit. Johnny yells "Do something!" but there's nothing that can be done as his brother dies before them.
  • Angry at his oldest son's death, Ray angrily knocks stuff around inside the house.
  • The guys light a fuse on something packed with some sort of explosives that's positioned in a tree. Thinking it's a dud, they slowly walk toward it as it explodes and sends a large branch falling toward them (but no one is harmed).
  • Johnny is jittery (from the drugs) and bashes his head back against a wall. He then knocks things around, smashes his guitar and then rips the sink from the wall.
  • June sees Johnny take more pills. He later has the jitters from them, takes more pills and then shows up drugged on stage. He acts weird, berates his band, kicks a microphone and stage light, and then collapses on the stage.
  • After walking a long way in the rain to see June, Johnny leaves and then collapses onto the ground (but is okay later).
  • Trying to get a tractor unstuck from the bank of a body of water, Johnny ends up sending it rolling backwards into the water where it sinks and he goes down as well. June then races and rescues him from it (with him saying she should have left him).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • A guard at a prison carries a rifle.
  • June's parents chase away Johnny's drug dealer while aiming shotguns or rifles at him.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Play the f*cking thing," "Jeez," "Shut up," "Sit your ass down," "Kiss his ass," what sounded like "Are you out of your rabid-ass mind?" and "Get your ass out of here."
  • The guys light a fuse on something packed with some sort of explosives that's positioned in a tree. Thinking it's a dud, they slowly walk toward it as it explodes and sends a large branch falling toward them (but no one is harmed).
  • Johnny is jittery (from the drugs) and bashes his head back against a wall. He then knocks things around, smashes his guitar and then rips the sink from the wall.
  • A prisoner has tattoos.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The guys light a fuse on something packed with some sort of explosives that's positioned in a tree. Thinking it's a dud, they slowly walk toward it as it explodes and sends a large branch falling toward them (but no one is harmed).
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has lyrics about killing a man.
  • Johnny sings a song with the lyric that he shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
  • A song has a lyric about smoking cigars.
  • While performing in front of prisoners, Johnny sings a song about taking cocaine and shooting his woman down. More lyrics about cocaine follow that.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 2 "s" words, what sounded like 1 slang term for female genitals ("poon"), 7 damns, 4 asses, 4 hells, 2 S.O.B.s, and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see Vivian breastfeeding her infant, but don't see anything explicit.
  • June shows a little cleavage.
  • Johnny tells June that he used to look at her pictures while in the service. She replies with "Oh" and realizing how that sounded, he replies "No, not like that."
  • Vivian tells Johnny that some of his fan male is obscene and includes some with photos of his fans in bathing suits, jokingly adding that they're for his time in Folsom.
  • Luther comments about Elvis and how he likes to talk about what sounded like "poon."
  • A young groupie's at Johnny's backstage door, enters and passionately kisses him (sex is implied). We later see Johnny kissing another woman, while a second is also there, but Johnny is literally falling down drunk or drugged.
  • Johnny offers a beer to June back at her hotel room and she says she doesn't know if she should. We then see them passionately kissing and the scene then cuts to them in bed (presumably post-sex) with him in a tank-top and her in a nightgown or something similar. She lies across him when she answers the phone and he runs his hands across her clothed body (including near her butt).
  • June shows a little cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • Johnny smokes at least 6 times, Luther smokes several times, Vivian and Ray (pipe) each smoke at least once, while miscellaneous people smoke (1 a pipe) in several scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • In a flashback, the boys' father yells at them about the radio they're listening to.
  • Ray kicks a can in anger in response to his wife saying they're not getting rid of the piano.
  • Johnny sees bloody material in a wash pan and then sees his brother lying mortally wounded in bed, with blood on the sheet covering him and the boy convulsing a bit. Johnny yells "Do something!" but there's nothing that can be done as his brother dies before them.
  • Angry at his oldest son's death, Ray angrily tells young Johnny that the music he's listening to is nothing, which is also what he thinks of Johnny. He then says the devil did this and that he took the wrong son (in front of Johnny).
  • Vivian is upset that Johnny's career is going nowhere, says she wants to go home and that he should take the job her father is offering him.
  • Johnny talks to June about his dead brother, saying that after he died, all he did was talk about him all of the time. But when people got tired of that, he stopped.
  • Upset about Johnny lying about while home from the tour, Vivian tells him that he better start living with them when he's home. She then adds that her rule is that when he's home, they only talk about regular stuff and not the tour. That upsets him (he says he doesn't like rules) and they argue, with him angrily asking what she wants from him and she replies "I want you."
  • While alone, Johnny goes to kiss June, but she pulls back, saying that she's just gone through a terrible divorce and that he's married.
  • Johnny tells June that he forgot his daughter's birthday (and is looking for a gift).
  • About June's latest marriage, Johnny asks her (while seemingly high on drugs, and in front of others) if she thinks "this one will take." She's upset and runs out, saying her marriage is bad.
  • Vivian finds Johnny putting up photos on the wall, most of them of June or Johnny and June. She then takes one, runs away from Johnny and then smashes the photo in the kitchen. She then starts hitting on Johnny until he gets control of her on the floor. We then see that their kids have been watching this and are upset. Moments later, she then drives off with the kids in the car.
  • Johnny recounts his brother's death in front of his and June's family at Thanksgiving.
  • Johnny seems to have made some sort of peace with his father by the end of the film.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy of the story and/or any artistic license taken with it.
  • The life of a singer/performer.
  • Addiction to prescription drugs.
  • Adultery.
  • Having a demeaning parent.
  • Losing a sibling.
  • Jerry Lee half-jokingly says that they're all going to Hell for the songs they sing (all except for June).
  • A store clerk reprimands June, telling her that she's surprised her parents still talk to her and that divorce is an abomination (June is recently divorced).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Johnny's brother is mortally wounded from what was presumably a table saw accident (we only see him afterwards, back at home, dying).
  • Angry at his oldest son's death, Ray angrily knocks stuff around inside the house.
  • In some newsreel footage about Folsom Prison, we see dramatized/recreated struggling between a guard and prisoner.
  • The guys light a fuse on something packed with some sort of explosives that's positioned in a tree. Thinking it's a dud, they slowly walk toward it as it explodes and sends a large branch falling toward them (but no one is harmed).
  • Johnny is jittery (from the drugs) and bashes his head back against a wall. He then knocks things around, smashes his guitar and then rips the sink from the wall.
  • Johnny, his band-mates, Jerry Lee and others drink and are drunk during the day (we see many broken beer bottles on the stage). June reprimands them for this and then throws several beer bottles at them, making them scramble for cover.
  • June sees Johnny take more pills. He later has the jitters from them, takes more pills and then shows up drugged on stage. He acts weird, berates his band, and kicks a microphone and stage light (before collapsing on the stage).
  • Vivian finds Johnny putting up photos on the wall, most of them of June or Johnny and June. She then takes one, runs away from Johnny and then smashes the photo in the kitchen. She then starts hitting on Johnny until he gets control of her on the floor.
  • While going through withdrawal, Johnny smashes a dresser drawer while looking for pills.
  • June's parents chase away Johnny's drug dealer while aiming shotguns or rifles at him.
  • Some songs contain violence-related lyrics (about shooting people).



  • Reviewed November 14, 2005 / Posted November 18, 2005

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