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Mending the Line is Netflix’s most-watched movie right now. Here’s why you should watch it

Brian Cox and Sinqua Walls in Mending the Line.
Blue Fox Entertainment

There’s a new No. 1 film on top of the list of the most popular movies on Netflix. And it’s not a thriller like Mel Gibson’s Over the Line, or an action fantasy like Damsel. Instead, this week’s most popular film on Netflix is Mending the Line, a low-budget film that stands apart from the standard streaming movies. And its budget doesn’t get in the way of telling an extremely moving and emotional story.

Mending the Line had so little fanfare compared to other movies that it’s genuinely surprising how quickly it found the type of audience on Netflix that eluded the film during its initial release in 2022. If you’re looking to pick out something to see on your next movie night, these are the three reasons why you should watch Mending the Line on Netflix. You may even decide to take up fly fishing afterward.

Mending the Line has a fantastic cast

Brian Cox, Sinqua Walls, and Perry Mattfeld in Mending the Line.
Blue Fox Entertainment

Even before HBO’s Succession reinvigorated his career, Brian Cox was already an actor’s actor. He was even the original Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter years before Anthony Hopkins took over the role in The Silence of the Lambs. Cox does tend to take on a lot of heavy or even villainous roles, which is why his part as Ike Fletcher is so refreshing in Mending the Line. Ike is a Vietnam veteran who never fully recovered from the trauma of war, and he’s let that separate him from most of the world – including his family – for decades.

Friday Night Lights‘ Sinqua Walls doesn’t have the same legendary pedigree as Cox, but he is more than capable of holding his own against the elder actor in their scenes together. Walls plays John Colter, a veteran who was injured during his last day in Afghanistan and can’t quite readjust to civilian life or deal with his physical and psychological wounds. That’s what ultimately brings Ike and John together in this story.

The rest of the main cast — Perry Mattfeld, Patricia Heaton, and Wes Studi — are all very good in this film as well. But the focus is primarily on John and Ike.

The fly fishing scenes are beautiful and meaningful

Perry Mattfeld and Sinqua Walls in Mending the Line.
Blue Fox Entertainment

Dr. Burke (Heaton) is the therapist who urges Ike to teach John how to fly fish, which is apparently a common therapeutic pastime for some veterans. Sometimes, nature is the best special effect, because these scenes in the water and the woods are breathtaking on film.

For Ike, the point of fly fishing isn’t catching fish — it’s the way that the activity allows him to relax and reflect. That’s the part of teaching that isn’t easy for him to convey, although Ike does put John through the equivalent of fly fishing boot camp. Over time, John becomes so convinced about fly fishing’s benefits that he invites Lucy (Mattfeld) to join them after befriending her at the local library. And like the two men, Lucy has her own drama to unpack.

It’s a story about healing

Mending the Line - Official Trailer (2023) Brian Cox, Sinqua Walls, Perry Mattfeld

There are no straight lines to healing the worst wounds of war, and Mending the Line doesn’t pretend to have all of the answers. But f;y fishing does create a friendship between John and Ike that is mutually healing for both men.

They need fly fishing as an activity, but they need each other even more. More importantly, Ike has a greater insight into their shared trauma than any doctor could ever give John. When Ike finally puts this into words, it’s one of the most poignant parts of the entire story.

Witnessing the emotional pain of these wounded warriors can be tough to watch at times, but the destination is worth it in the end.

Watch Mending the Line on Netflix.

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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