‘Walk the Line’: Music, Addiction, and Forbidden Love

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

For today’s Time Warp Tuesday, we will be taking a look at one of the greatest musical biopics of all time (and my favorite film) Walk the Line.

The film follows the ‘Man in Black’ musician, Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix), and his musical career. Along the way, he finds love in his childhood crush and longtime singing partner June Carter Cash (Reese Witherspoon) but with the highs comes the lows. The audience is exposed to Johnny’s demons and faults. We learn about his battle with drugs and alcohol and his affair with June despite being married to his wife Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin). He suddenly becomes his own villain and becomes stuck in a cycle of addiction and infidelity.

Walk the Line went on to win multiple awards including Best Actress at the Academy Awards. What made this film so great was, in fact, the acting. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon quite literally embodied the souls of Johnny and June Cash. It’s almost like watching a documentary of the famous duo because of the actors’ nearly identical performances. When someone, with hardly any musical experience, can replicate every voice inflection, facial expression, and body movement of a famous musician’s performance then I think it goes without saying that they deserve the highest praise possible.

Along with the musical talent they possess, Phoenix and Witherspoon’s chemistry is both undeniable and honest. Johnny and June had an intense bond that caused him to lose control and hurt June and Johnny’s wife Vivian in the process. This flawed love story is portrayed with the same fierceness it possessed without watering down the moral imperfections. It isn’t the ideal romance that you see in most films, but this also is not a romance – it’s a drama. And that genre leaves all of the ugly parts in.

One of those ugly parts is Johnny’s drug addiction, and the performance that Phoenix gives is too good to not give an Oscar to. As I said before, Johnny becomes the villain in a story where he was the protagonist and his rehabilitation isn’t a pretty one. But Phoenix’s transition between all of them were nearly flawless, and he was able to portray one’s real experience of addiction. He showed the dark side of a man who was once on the top of the mountain and suddenly fell into his own personal hell. (I’m sure you thought I’d make a ‘Ring of Fire’ pun, but that’d be way out of context)

Walk the Line is one of those movies that will never leave your mind after one watch and questions whether fame and fortune is worth the hurt.

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‘Titanic’ Makes My Heart Go On

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

When I think of late 90s cinema, there are dozens of movies that come to mind. We have American Beauty (1999), The Sixth Sense (1999), Good Will Hunting (1997), Clueless (1995), and so many others that quickly became classics. For me, however, none touched me quite as much as Titanic (1997).

Titanic is a movie that nearly everyone knows about as most grew up having seen it once or twice. Maybe they’ve even heard about its impressive eleven academy award wins at the 1998 Oscars. No matter how one may have heard of it, it’s a movie that’s touched the hearts and minds of everybody.

Given that everybody knows what the film is about, I’ll keep the summary brief. When poor Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and recently engaged Rose Bukater (Kate Winslet) meet aboard the RMS Titanic, they find love in one another. They build a relationship beyond anything many have seen, but realize sometimes love doesn’t last as long as you may like it to. In their case, however, it wasn’t a break-up that brought this realization.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic was the climax of this movie, and showed – practically in real time – the sinking of the ship and the drowning of the lives on board. Director James Cameron knew how to capture this emotional tragedy and make it so the audience doesn’t even care about its running time (194 minutes).

Titanic 1
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Everything about this movie was astonishing to me and millions would agree. Being able to witness such stellar performances by DiCaprio and Winslet (as well as such notable names as Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, and Frances Fisher) under equally beautiful writing makes any moviegoer fill with joyful tears from beginning to end.

It doesn’t happen often in modern cinema that you see a cast of actors and actresses who are all so individually dedicated to their roles. It was obvious that each wanted to portray their characters with the seriousness that those on the real Titanic would’ve maintained.

Much of this is due to the main man himself, James Cameron (Avatar, Aliens). People are no stranger to the work of Cameron, as he had already released Aliens in 1986, eleven years prior to Titanic.

Not everyone was too confident in him for Titanic (given that the budget was incredibly high – the highest of any movie in history at the time – and that most thought it would be “just another romance flick”), and many lost faith before it had even been released. That concept in itself is a marvel to me given its brilliant reception and continued adoration today.

It’s not doing Titanic justice by calling it a brilliant historical adaptation, when it felt like so much more. It was a near spiritual awakening for most who watched it, whether you’ve seen it once, twice, or two dozen times.


My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.9/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

‘Tully’: The Truth About Motherhood

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Let me start out by saying that this movie is easily in my top 3 movies this year and deserves an Academy Award nomination. No other movie has felt so real and candid while still being enjoyable and fun.

Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde, Monster) plays Marlo, a mother of three suffering from severe postpartum depression. Her husband (Ron Livingston) doesn’t do much for the kids, except being the homework helper. Marlo’s rich brother (Mark Duplass) sees just how sleep deprived and exhausted his sister is becoming and recommends a night nanny who can take care of the baby at nights so Marlo can sleep.

At first, Marlo is iffy and uncomfortable with the idea. The thought of having some stranger take care of their newborn baby Mia and leave before they even wake up was strange. They decide not to call the night nanny at first, even though Marlo knows she can’t handle it. Eventually this catches up to her and she calls Tully (Mackenzie Davis), the 26 year old “fun facts for fourth graders” night nanny who is ready to not only care for the baby, but to care for Marlo.

That’s the first part of that movie that I find very meaningful. Tully’s overall philosophy is that she is also taking care of the mother if she’s taking care of the baby. This is because, according to Tully, the newborn Mia’s cells will remain in Marlo’s body for years to come. This makes it so they are one whole, therefore another “baby” Tully is here to take care of.

The acting from each of the characters was absolutely phenomenal. First we have Charlize Theron, who is always phenomenal. This movie was different though. It was extremely easy to notice just how much power and dedication she put into this role to give the “postpartum depression” storyline her all, given its sensitive material.

Mackenzie Davis, who has previously been in Black Mirror, gives us a brilliant portrayal of a “light at the end of the tunnel” type of character that everyone absolutely loves. Neither of these characters (Tully and Marlo) would be quite as appealing if the actresses behind them didn’t know what they were doing.

This was a movie where I didn’t have even the slightest interest to check the time on my phone, or question how long it’s been going. I was genuinely interested in Marlo and Tully’s entire story, beginning to end, and you will too.

Tully teaches love, care, neglect, nourishment, and how it is for some people entering motherhood for their first, second, third, or fourth time. It shows that even already having two kids and another on the way doesn’t mean it needs to be easy, persay. Postpartum can come from any child, and it’s important to have either the husband or somebody caring for you when you’re going through that. Nobody should have to go through that alone.


My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.9/4

Cinematography: 3.7/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4