More trouble in Cash-land: GetReligion says the film blows it.

Over at GetReligion, Terry Mattingly’s paying attention to see if “Walk the Line” will tell the true story of Cash’s redemption. And apparently, they’re disappointed.

For years, Cash prowled the stage on amphetamines and wept as he sang “The Old Rugged Cross” — often in the same show. Things got better after he married June Carter in 1968, a meeting of souls made in heaven, but worked out in the flesh under the parental gaze of Ezra and Maybelle Carter. These country-music pioneers not only prayed at Cash’s bedside while he kicked drugs, but hung on through years of front-porch Bible study as he walked the line toward redemption.

Cash was in a spiritual war and he knew it.

It seems that the filmmakers did not realize, or elected to overlook, the point at which Cash’s religious conversion began.

Get ready. This week, new reviews by Peter T. Chattaway, Steven D. Greydanus, and many more will arrive to testify as to whether this is a film about a man of faith, or a misguided attempt to paint an insightful portrait a man of fame.

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  • Josh Hurst

    Okay, Jeffrey… the woman likes Sam Phillips. You just HAVE to like her now…

  • Christian

    Gotcha. I had received a screening invite from Grace Hill and had thought they were behind the junket.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    If I understand you correctly, you went to a junket orgnaized for the Christian press, correct?

    Not quite. The junket was for all the media, and they happened to make a point of inviting the Christian media as well — presumably because, however sublimated or downplayed the religious element might be, it’s still there.

  • Christian

    Peter: If I understand you correctly, you went to a junket orgnaized for the Christian press, correct? And when you got there, the people behind the film said that it doesn’t really explore Cash’s faith, or his conversion.

    So I have to ask: Why is this movie being promoted to the Christian audience? What did the studio hope for when it flew in Christian critics, only to tell them that the movie doesn’t deal with the one area the Christian press would be most interested in?

    These aren’t really questions aimed at you, Peter. I’m just perplexed. Perhaps my assumptions are all wrong.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Actually, I’m not writing a review of this one, per se — at least not for CT Movies — but I am writing the junket report, which will probably go up around Tuesday.

    Actually, I’ve already written the junket report. And yeah, at least two of the interviewees — director James Mangold and actress Reese Witherspoon — admitted that the film doesn’t get into the religious side of Cash’s life all that much, though Mangold at least said this is because the film focuses on the ’50s and ’60s and not on the ’70s, which is when Cash became very overt about his religion.

    Just for the record, I don’t know enough about Cash’s life to say whether this is a fair explanation, or justification, or whatever. Although, come to think of it, the film isn’t all about Cash — there is also the question of how prominent a role faith played in the lives of the Carters, and Reese, who plays June Carter Cash, basically said the film didn’t go as far with this aspect of the story as it could have, either.

    Ain’t offering my opinion, just passing on what the filmmakers themselves said while promoting the movie.


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