Walk The Line Review

This week I finally found the time to watch the 2004 biopic, “Walk the Line.”  The movie is Hollywood’s representation of the life Johnny Cash.  While watching the film my goal was to view it as not only a critic in the theatrical sense but also as a historian.  I had heard great reviews about the movie and the talented actors portraying Johnny Cash and June Carter, but I wanted to see how historically accurate the film was to their lives.

After doing some research on the life of Johnny Cash I found that in general the movie stayed pretty accurate to reality.  The dates of all the performances and the chart rating of the songs were all correct.  However there were a few things inconsistencies with the film and history.  The first was that the film showed Cash leaving for the Air Force from his family home back in Arkansas but in reality he left home in his late teens to work in Detroit first before entering the Air Force. Most of the other inaccuracies seem to involve his relationships with both Vivian Liberto, and June Carter.  In the movie we don't actually see cash meet Vivian we only see him confessing his lover for her and proposing over the phone once while he is still in Germany.  And throughout the rest of the film it is portrayed that Cash doesn't seem to really care much about Vivian at all.  However in real life he wasn't allowed to make any phone calls back home so he actually wrote love letters back to Vivian almost everyday and even mailed home a ring to propose to her. Which she immediately excepted.  In the movie Cash left for his first tour and left behind his wife and kids.  But on the first few tours his wife Vivian actually came with him.  She and her husband even use to hang out with June Carter and her family after the shows.  The movie also depicts June Carter as a nearly perfect, steadfast Christian women who turns down Cash’s advances out of respect for Vivian.  What many of the band members will tell you is that Carter was immediately attracted to Cash and actually made constant advances herself.  It’s been reported that Carter once even said to Vivian, "He will be mine," referring to Cash.  The movie also shows Carter being fed up with Cash’s drug abuse and eventually, with the help of her family, she was able to get him clean.  But as it happens Carter and Cash used to get high together and when Cash finally did get clean he had nurses with him 24-7 to get him through.  Cash does however give Carter credit for staying by his side and helping him quit but she wasn't as innocent as the movie would make it appear.

Besides the nature of some of the relationships the movie stayed pretty true to reality. The movie was also executively produced by John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny and June, so it is understandable why Vivian was poorly viewed and why June was portrayed to be a saint. Over all I really enjoyed the film and would recommend anyone wanting a closer look into the life of Johnny Cash, to watch it.  

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Austin Finley1 Comment