October 03, 2023
Readers of this magazine are aware of the feature film Mending the Line, as the star-studded film was thoroughly reviewed on page 24 of the June-July 2023 issue. The fictional story is based on an aggregation of real events and real people, and tells the story of a Marine named Colter (Sinqua Walls) who is physically and mentally injured from combat in Afghanistan, and is ordered by a physician at a VA hospital in Livingston, Montana, to learn how to fly fish.
His reluctant mentor Ike Fletcher is a grouchy Vietnam vet played by Brian Cox. Most people will recognize the Scottish actor from his roles in movies like Braveheart, The Bourne Identity, Churchill, and the popular HBO series Succession, for which he won a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actor.
Ike knows a lot about fishing—he works in a fly shop and fishes the Gallatin with a bamboo rod—but the most important lesson for Colter is that you can close one chapter of your life and open another. New beginnings are possible for everyone, even for Ike.
The Los Angeles Times wrote that Mending the Line is “A stirring tale of remedy and redemption. Worth a look for its lovely and magical fly-fishing sequences and stirring Big Sky vistas (shout out to cinematographer Eve Cohen), as well as its strong cast, authentic depictions, vital messaging and stirring excerpts from Steve Ramirez’s poetic, Texas-set fly-fishing book, Casting Forward.”
As a side note, Steve Ramirez’s book plays a key role in the narrative of the film, and Ramirez is also the author of the Seasonable Angler column on the last pages of every issue of Fly Fisherman.
Fly Fisherman held a special advance screening of the film at the Allenberry Playhouse on June 3, with director Joshua Caldwell in attendance, and the more than 200 audience members took part in a panel discussion with wounded vets and ambassadors for the group Warriors and Quiet Waters.
On June 8, Warriors and Quiet Waters had their own screening at a special event in Bozeman, and on June 9 the film enjoyed a widespread theatrical release in 400 locations and in 43 states.
After the theatrical release, the film received critical praise from multiple sources including Variety, which said the film “Has a deceptively placid surface and a turbulent undertow that catches up to you ... and delivers a truth about those who have served, about the reality of the demons that can linger in them.”
RogerEbert.com commented, “Mending the Line is a sensitively directed drama about fly fishing as therapy for PTSD.”
So far, the film has only been seen in theaters, which means that relatively few people have yet had the chance to see it. The wait is now over, as Mending the Line is now part of the Sony Pictures digital library—right alongside A River Runs Through It—and is available in your own home starting Sept. 26 through multiple digital on-demand services.
Click Below to Stream Mending the Line