Review by Dan Skip Allen
Feel-good movies come in all shapes and sizes. More often than not, they are usually Christian or religious films. Mending the Line is a feel-good movie without a religious angle. It's just a film with a story that gets you in the feels. That's a type of movie I can always get behind, especially since it has good acting from Brian Cox and Sinqua Walls and a good story I'm sure many people can get behind.
Mending the Line, as the title suggests, has many fishing analogies. It uses this premise to give a therapeutic message to the viewers watching it and the characters within the story. When it comes to war or traumatic experiences, it's hard to find ways to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder. In this case, fly fishing worked for this man (played by Sinqua Walls) and in return, the older man (played by Brian Cox) got to impart his wisdom to someone else who needed it.
As fast as the acting goes, Sinqua Walls has been an actor popping up a lot lately. He was in the thriller Nanny last year, and this year he's in the remake of the sports classic White Men Can't Jump, the horror comedy The Blackening, and this film. He stretches his acting abilities in this movie. Playing a Marine going through PTSD is not easy. He makes it look that way, though.
Throw in another amazing actor, Brian Cox – who has won Emmy awards for his role as the surly owner of a multi-billion dollar company, Logan Roy, in Succession — and you have a good team. They play off each other nicely. Cox takes the surly part of his Logan Roy role and adds it to this Vietnam vet who doesn't get along with many people. If it weren't for his doctor, he wouldn't even be around anyone, but she said he couldn't fish alone.
Besides the two main characters, there is a supporting cast that compliments the two leads. A doctor played by Patricia Heaton has a difficult job dealing with these men with these ailments. Wes Studi (Dances with Wolves) plays the owner of a hunting/bait and tackle store, who's a reluctant friend of Cox's character. And Perry Mattfeld plays a librarian who reads to men at the hospital Heaton's character works and Walls’s character lives. She has issues she's dealing with regarding traumatic experiences and helps Walls's character out while they become friends.
The writers and filmmakers are rather new to making films with a few under their belt, but they captured familiar tropes with this movie. They put the main characters into a difficult situation and see how they work themselves out of it. It has worked time and again over the years. It's a tried and true formula for this type of movie. And more often than not, I get hooked by them. This one was a pleasant surprise because I didn't know what to expect, but I very much enjoyed it.
Mending the Line takes popular tropes of feel-good films and mixes them with good acting from Cox, Walls, and the rest of the cast and perfectly fine writing and direction to make a movie people should see. In a world of sequels, remakes, and summer blockbusters for the kids and everyone in between, this movie is for those looking for something different and on another level. The older, more mature generation will probably gravitate towards this film, and maybe they'll drag some young folks to it just for the heck of it. Who knows? Maybe they'll enjoy it like I did.
Mending the Line hits theaters on June 9.