Although this film does depict the life of Johnny Cash by showing his addiction to pills, alcohol and women, it focuses more on the passions that drove his music and the pursuit of his future wife who ended up saving his life.
The film starts out with Cash as a young child growing up on a cotton farm in Arkansas and it is evident right away how much music shaped his life.
The young Johnny spends most of his time listening to the radio and reciting hymns, much to the dismay of his father (Robert Patrick), who holds John responsible after his brother is killed in a sawing accident.
As Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) grows up, music is still the thing that is always on his mind. He writes his first song while serving in the Air Force in Germany and as soon as he moves back to the states and marries his first wife, Vivian, he risks being evicted just so he can pursue his dream of being a famous musician.
Cash finally talks Sam Phillips of Sun Records in Memphis, Tenn., into an audition for his band, but in the middle of their first song they are told to stop because the music was tired and had no new meanings.
That is when Cash plays the song he wrote in Germany, "Folsom Prison Blues," and at that point the legend is born.
While touring with famous musicians such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Waylon Jennings, Cash meets June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) and his life starts spinning out of control.
Cash for years continues to pursue Carter to no avail, which helps lead him to a life of booze and pills.
The rest of the film focuses on how Cash handles these hardships and how the woman he loved most helps him get through the hard times.
This report prepared by Adam Tobias