Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reese Witherspoon in "Walk The Line"

Reese Witherspoon won the Oscar for playing famous country singer June Carter Cash in Walk The Line.

Walk The Line is one of those standard biopics, except Walk The Line relies on the acting to take it into great territory. And unfortunately, the acting in this movie ranges from mediocre to just plain bad. Joaquin Phoenix is barely establishing Cash as a character, instead he works more on his voice, which isn't that good either.

Johnny Cash first encounters June Carter when he is touring. It's quite an entrance, or quite a good written entrance, when June is trying to run out on stage and gets stuck on Cash, and uses her funny attitude and charm to not let herself get embarrassed. Again, good writing, but a bad performance. Reese Witherspoon, simply, should not have played June Carter Cash. In this scene, she comes off as annoying and doesn't know how exactly to play her character. If her acting didn't help, her singing was on the same level. Carter's singing style was very distinct, like a sweet, rugged voice. Reese Witherspoon sounds like a drunk ditz friend at a karaoke bar.

From that moment on, Witherspoon is usually in the background, doing practically nothing, maybe throwing a beer bottle bombastically or failing to deliver sassy line readings like "BABY BABY BABY!" These are supposed to make June quite a lovable, free minded woman who Johnny and us could fall back on. In the hands of Witherspoon, she's just an annoying woman who can't make up her mind. I just feel annoyed and angry when I watch Walk The Line, and see such a performance that fails in every way possible in impressing me.

2005 was surely a low-point in the Academy's history, but really. Maybe it was the fact Reese Witherspoon was showing some range by taking an unlikely role, or maybe it was because it was the film most saw out of the nominees. Or maybe they just liked it, who knows. But, for me, she fails in every department. Besides the scene at the end where Johnny proposes to her, her acting is on the level of amateur, and her singing is nowhere near what the real woman sounded like. As I said before, a real low-point.


21 comments:

Fritz said...

Ouch! :-)

But I was expecting it...I liked her. Nothng out-this-world, but a nice, charming performance. And I loved her voice, personally.
But in another year, she would never have won the Oscar (and let's not forget that she basically almost won everything else, too).

What I liked most about her win was that it was a change from all the de-glamming.

Sage Slowdive said...

Yeah, she was sure liked, even by the critics...but, it's just my opinion on it :)

I'm sure many people like her here.

Fritz said...

Mmh, I have actually never met anyone who REALLY liked her. Most seem indifferent to her...I think at the time what helped her was that Phoenix couldn't win anything and so they maybe felt that they were voting for both.

Louis Morgan said...

I agree, in fact I thought she would be your first one.

Sage Slowdive said...

First review or first choice? ;)

It was sort of the same thing with Sandra Bullock, people automatically bring their like or love for a certain actress and their personality into the voting process. I do think her taking a risk and trying a new role was one of the the things that helped her win.

Louis Morgan said...

I meant first 1 out of 5 rating.

Sage Slowdive said...

Yes, but I'm sure there will be another ill-fated actress among the 300+ left....

Louis Morgan said...

Maybe Bette Midler :)

Sage Slowdive said...

Or some of the bottom winners that haven't appeared yet :)

But, I have been surprised lately, like with Carole Lombard, so I guess some performances will change, then how I previously preconceived them.

Twister said...

Reese is a charming presence in her films, but little more than that. She just doesn't have the dramatic firepower to fully handle a tough role. Plus, isn't she supporting?

And Sage, why did you stop commenting on my blog/stop being a follower?

Sage Slowdive said...

It wouldn't matter to me one bit if she was supporting, she just completely escapes me in her every single detail she put into this performance.

Actually, I accidentally stopped following everyone, and just haven't gotten around to adding everyone back on there...don't worry I still read :)

dinasztie said...

Do you consider her to be the worst winner ever?

Anyway, I saw her a long time ago and don't really remember it, only that I thought that she was better in Legally Blonde XD.

Sage Slowdive said...

I certainly did in my last ranking...but anything can change, I suppose.

Malcolm said...

Wow!!!!!

Lowest rating yet! Do you think someone could even edge her ou in being the lowest?

I believe she was petty good and in her character. I did love her. But she's just on the background of Joaquin.

Sage Slowdive said...

hahaha, well there's 300+ performances left to review, so I suppose someone could eventually slip beneath her.

DistinguishedFlyer said...

Wow - I knew she'd score low, but not lower than Julie Harris. Maybe it's because I'm not much of a country music fan & never listened to them much, but I thought they both did a good job. Did you like them more or less than Jamie Foxx in Ray?

Sage Slowdive said...

They're both pretty much on the same level with me.

Tom said...

I agree, they should have gotten someone else to play this part. I wasn't too fond of Jaoquin either.

Allen said...

Not surprised. Reese Witherspoon is a whole lot of nothing here. I remember watching Walk the Line for the first time and just being absolutely bored by her. Don't really know what the Academy was thinking that year (or any of the critics organizations like NYCC and NSFC for that matter).

Mark Brown said...

Agreed. To me, it was more like watching Reese just being herself, not June Carter. I thought Joaquin Phoenix, however, was MARVELOUS. Not only did he bare a striking resemblance to the real Johnny Cash, he even sounded like him, esp. his singing voice. Had Phillip Seymour Hoffman (may he rest in peace) not been nominated the same year for "Capote", I think Phoenix may have won the Oscar.

Mark Brown said...
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