Much as Jamie Foxx so eerily embodied the spirit of his musical muse inRay, so too do Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, as they gallantly step into the shoes of a couple (Johnny and June Carter Cash) they seemingly were born to emulate.

It’s too much to expect Walk the Line to encapsulate the complexities of either life, much less both of them, in a mere two-plus hours, and it’s easily apparent that a lot of material had to be glossed over in order to make time. So what we get, instead of a forgettable paint-by-numbers biopic, is a shaky, dark but electrically celebratory love story about an imperfect but equally celebratory man and the similarly imperfect woman who saved his life who knows how many times.

Line occasionally feels episodic, as if it doesn’t know how to properly end a story that we know continues well after the credits roll. But in the face of two incredible performances and a knockout soundtrack to match, the offenses it commits are minor ones.

Extras: Writer/director commentary, deleted scenes (with commentary), three extended musical performances, three behind-the-scenes features.

Grade: A