TV Review Jackie K Cooper
"Ring of Fire" (Lifetime)
Jewel (Kilcher) sparkles and shines in Lifetime's original movie "Ring of Fire," the story of June Carter Cash. The movie tells the story of this country legend from early childhood to death. Matt Ross co-stars as Johnny Cash and Frances Conroy is featured as Mother Maybelle. The film covers a lot of years so details are not easy to come by; but the overall message, which is the love story between the two country performers, is loud and clear.
The film opens with June as a small child performing with her family on the radio and in concerts. It then moves ahead to when June flirted with fellow singer Carl Smith (Linds Edwards) on air and in concert. She ended up marrying him but he was unfaithful. She then married a race car driver. As a result of these two marriages she had two daughters.
She was ready for love when she met Johnny Cash but she also knew he had problems with alcohol and pills. Foolishly she thought her love could make him quit but the road to sobriety was a long one. There isn't a lot of time spent on Johnny's addictions but it is enough to make an impact.
This movie is Jewel's first major dramatic role and she is surprisingly good. She handles the more emotional parts of the role believably and she excels when the role calls for some comedic action. She makes us forget that she is Jewel the actress by becoming June Carter Cash on the screen. Reese Witherspoon won an Academy Award for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in the movie "I Walk the Line" so there might be an Emmy nomination ahead in Jewel's future. She has more spunk on view than Reese ever did.
The main criticism of the movie has to be that the makers of the film tried to cram too much story into two hours. The content of the first hour is really rushed, and only gets slightly better in the final one. Still there is an emotional pull to the love story between Johnny and June Cash that fills every nick and crevice of the film. They were truly soul mates who were destined to be together. The fact they could sing together beautifully just added to the power of their union.
There was a lot of humor in June Carter Cash, a brightness that is allowed to shine in the performance by Jewel. You will find yourself liking this woman and the actress who plays her. They are a good match and this makes for a good movie.
"Ring of Fire" airs Monday, May 27 at 9PM on the Lifetime Channel.
Jackie K Cooper