That’s one of many reasons that this film succeeds the way that it does. It’s authenticity. Unlike other biopics, I really believe I am watching the subjects as they experience these events rather than simply actors portraying them for a moment in time. The performers truly dedicated themselves to the role. Phoenix and Witherspoon reportedly became so reliant upon each other and playing off of one another, that they agreed that if one left the production, the other would as well.
Even the actors who play Cash’s contemporaries, those he toured and performed with, play their parts and sing with talent and authenticity. Tyler Hilton plays Elvis Presley and Shooter Jennings plays his own father Waylon.
The film though is more than just about the music: it’s a true love story that is as iconic as Romeo & Juliet: a couple who went to hell and back together and remained together to the very end.
As a country music fan and a fan of Johnny Cash, as someone who has read one of his autobiographies, I absolutely love this film.