Mending the Line Review – Inspiring and Heartwarming Veteran Drama

Mending the Line, from Blue Fox Entertainment, brings to screen an inspiring veteran drama that guides the viewer through a winding journey of loss, renewed hope, discovery, possibility, purpose, and the healing power of nature.

The film begins in Afghanistan, with Sergeant John Colter, played by Sinqua Walls, telling his battalion of Marines, on the last day of their tour of duty, that they are headed out for one last patrol. The news goes over like a lead weight, as a new crop of fresh recruits just landed. Colter and his men roll through the village, which is eerily empty. Suddenly they are ambushed.

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The film cuts to Livingston, Montana, where Ike Fletcher, played by Brian Cox, is flyfishing. We see that he takes great pleasure in this, and when the trout takes the bait, and he reels him in, we see he releases the fish back to the wild when unexpectedly he is losing consciousness and barely makes it to shore before he passes out.

In Livingston we also meet Lucy, played by Perry Mattfeld, at the local library removing books from the shelf, and explaining to a caller that while she appreciates the opportunity, she has given up photography.

These quick introductions all come together at the Veterans Hospital, where Colter has been sent to complete his rehab and Ike, a former Vietnam Vet, was also sent here, back in the day, and found a home, and put down roots, and is now, once again receiving treatment.

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Colter, headstrong and determined to return to active duty, is pushing his agenda on Dr. Burke, played by Patricia Heaton, while hiding his PTSD, anesthetizing the pain and guilt with alcohol. He is told he will need to add group therapy to his rehab. His attempt to share with the group hits the emotional wall he has erected to keep him from processing his feelings and hopefully healing.

Dr. Burke explains he may be better suited for flyfishing, as studies have shown that there are healing effects associated with the sport, and she gives him Ike's information.

Ike, a surly, headstrong fly-fisherman, who has stumbled, and fallen, before he walked steady on the path that Colter is now on sees immediately that Colter is using alcohol to sedate himself, and that he is also someone who had achieved rank and expects to be treated with the same rank.

The two men, one older and has conquered the active anger, the boiling volcanic rage that PTSD can bring, and the other, younger, believing he has everything under control, when in fact PTSD is controlling him begin to form a bond. Harrison, played by Wes Studi, becomes the bridge between the two, and encourages Ike to get past himself.

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Mending the Line is a story about finding something to make living worthwhile. Cotler, like many wounded vets, returns from duty still carrying the demons of war, and we see that with usually easy social interactions, sights, sounds, and even uneven lighting causing major breakdowns and resulting in an urgency to self-medicate.  

The cinematography is inviting, with images of the bending, winding river, the fast-rushing water is visually enticing and evokes, along with the score which touches the soul, a sense of peace.

Mending the Line is uplifting and for anyone who has suffered loss and holds the sorrow so close, that time stops, and it seals you in a vacuum, the film introduces new avenues that may usher in the beginning stages of healing.

Inspirational, encouraging and emotional, Mending the Line, opens in theaters June 9, 2023. See it.  

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Country: U.S.

Runtime: 122miuntes.

Release date: Friday, June 9, 2023.

Director: Joshua Caldwell.

Producer: Joshua Caldwell, Stephen Camelio, Carl Effenson, Scott Macleod, Kelly McKendry.

Writer: Stephen Camelio.

Cast: Brian Cox, Sinqua Walls, Perry Mattfeld, Wes Studi, Patricia Heaton, Chris Galust, Irene Bedard, Julian Works, Pressly Coker, Jenna Ciralli, Chris Galust, Michaela Sasner, Melanie Rae Wendt, Phaedra Nielson, Tristan Thompson, Scott McCauley, Gabriel Clark, Quenby Iandiorio, Catherine Deriana, Josef Patterson, Mighet Matanane, Dan Sullivan.

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