Wednesday, June 14, 2023

"Mending the Line" Maybe the Next "A River Runs Through It".

My wife Ellen and I went to see "Mending the Line" on Sunday. This may or may not be the next "A River Runs Through It," but it is definitely a movie to see, especially if you're a vet, work with veterans, or volunteer with groups like Warriors and Quiet Waters, Project Healing Waters, Reels to Recovery, or any other organization that uses fishing to help veterans. We were more than slightly disappointed that we were the only two people in the theater.

I am not a veteran. My experiences with Post Traumatic Stress come from an adult lifetime in emergency medical services, search and rescue, and as a park ranger, particularly as a SAR dog handler in a couple of disaster situations back in the 1980s. But I have had friends, close friends, who were or are veterans of Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It may not be the same, but I believe it gives me some measure of understanding. I've had the nightmares. More importantly, I have a wife who took up fly fishing (with me) after completing chemotherapy for Lymphoma. I have seen first-hand the healing it has given her. It works.

Bryan Cox, Sinqua Walls, Perry Mattsfield and Wes Studi (who served in Viet Nam) are all exceptional. I've been a fan of Studi since "Last of the Mohicans" and as Lt. Joe Leaphorn on PBS's "Mystery." In Josh Caldwell's interview with Tom Rosenbauer on the Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast, Caldwell stated that Mattsfield was the only cast member who had fly fished before the movie was made. However, in an interview after it was released, Wes Studi commented he was going to continue fly fishing, and he intended to go back and actually catch a fish, and "maybe eat it."

The fishing scenes are beautifully filmed, and Livingston, Montana, shines as the place where the film was shot and takes place. My wife and I go on a fly fishing trip every Father's Day weekend, (We're heading to the Minnesota Arrowhead this year.) but after the movie she said next year we're going to Montana. No argument here!

The movie is rated "R" for rough language and combat violence, but it is excellent, beautiful and very moving. I would encourage all anglers to get out and see it.

There is another "Mending the Line" movie out there, also about a veteran. It is a documentary and can be found exclusively on Fishing TV Channel. It's the story of Frank Moore, a D-Day vet and Fly-Fishing Hall-of-Famer who goes back to France at age 90 to fish the streams he crossed as a soldier, finding healing in the process. I haven't watched it yet, but it's on my very short list.

Mending the Line