TROUT UNLIMITED: “Mending the Line” hits theater audiences tonight
June 8, 2023
Anglers should go see it, and encourage their friends and family to also, because the movie captures what fly fishing is really all about.
In one way or another, I think anyone who fly fishes does so to heal a part of themselves. Some just understand that’s happening more than others.
A new motion picture written by Stephen Camelio and directed by Joshua Caldwell—starring A-list actors Brian Cox, Sinqua Walls, Patricia Heaton and others—called “Mending the Line” tells the story of a U.S. Marine “Colt” (Walls) who returns from a traumatic tour in Afghanistan and is sent to a VA facility in Montana. There, he meets Vietnam veteran “Ike” (Cox) who connects him with fly-fishing to find healing. The time they spend together—especially interactions on beautiful Montana rivers—eventually helps Colt navigate through survivor’s guilt and replace his desire to die for something with a renewed sense of having something to live for.
Anglers will appreciate the film for several reasons. It’s true to the sport with legitimate substance, right down to the knots and flies. The cinematography and especially close-up trout “eats” are stunning. And while anyone who seriously fishes will sense where the story is headed (because they’ve felt redemption through fly fishing themselves), the picture gives pride and purpose to all who embrace fly fishing as more than a mere game for people who get their jollies by pulling on trout. It’s the kind of picture you want to take your friends who don’t really fish or don’t really understand why you fish to see, because the light bulb will undoubtedly turn on.
The characters are compelling and authentic, and the cast really pulls the whole thing together. The last time we saw a film that landed on the grace of fly fishing this well was Robert Redford’s screen adaptation of Norman Maclean’s benchmark novella A River Runs Through It, some 30 years ago. That changed the angling world as we knew it.
Mending the Line is eye-opening and reaffirming on several levels and is bound to be another essential element of fly-fishing filmography.