Mending the Line: 8 Similarly Uplifting Movies to Watch

With Joshua Caldwell at the helm, ‘Mending the Line’ revolves around a marine who returns from Afghanistan after a tragic incident that has left him struggling with trauma. Through a V.A. facility, he meets a Vietnam veteran who teaches him to fly fish as a way to heal. When the two wade into the waist-deep water and throw their lines, they forget about their past sufferings and are completely immersed in the present moment. The heartfelt drama film touches upon themes of coping with a dark past, healing, and self-discovery. For those who were enthralled by the film and its poignant narrative, here are some movies like ‘Mending the Line’ to enjoy.

8. Made in Italy (2020)

A James D’Arcy directorial, ‘Made in Italy’ tells a heartwarming story of family, grief, and renewal set against the picturesque backdrop of the Tuscan countryside. The narrative follows Jack, a London-based artist, and his estranged son, Robert, as they travel to Italy to renovate and sell an old house left to them by Jack’s late wife. As father and son work together to restore the dilapidated villa, they confront unresolved issues from their past and navigate the complexities of their relationship. Like in ‘Mending the Line,’ the protagonists rediscover themselves through a shared activity in a beautiful setting, which leads them on the path to healing and nurturing a love for life.

7. Prisoner’s Daughter (2022)

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, ‘Prisoner’s Daughter’ narrates the story of Max (Brian Cox) as he returns from spending twelve years in prison and attempts to reconnect with his family. His daughter is a single mother who is reluctant to give him a chance after he has been absent from their lives. However, she agrees to let him stay for rent after he makes a sincere appeal. Max has clearly changed after his time in prison and helps the family deal with their issues, from helping his grandson with bullies to becoming a backstop against anyone who threatens the family. If you liked Brian Cox’s well-written and emotionally mature role in ‘Mending the Line,’ you will be enthralled by his performance in ‘Prisoner’s Daughter.’

6. Stop-Loss (2008)

Under the direction of Kimberly Peirce, ‘Stop-Loss’ explores the psychological toll of war on soldiers returning home from Iraq. The film follows Sergeant Brandon King, who returns to his small Texas town after completing his tour of duty, only to find himself involuntarily called back to serve under the military’s controversial stop-loss policy.

Faced with the prospect of returning to combat, Brandon tries to make sense of his situation. While he feels obligated by the commitment of duty and honor, it is countered by a feeling of betrayal. If ‘Mending the Line’ ignited curiosity regarding the veterans’ psychological toil after combat, ‘Stop-Loss’ presents a gritty exploration of the harsh realities faced by the soldiers.

5. Thank You for Your Service (2017)

In the directorial hands of Jason Hall, ‘Thank You for Your Service’ delves into the harrowing aftermath of war as it follows a group of U.S. soldiers returning home from Iraq. Battling with the trauma of combat and struggling to reintegrate into civilian life, the soldiers face a myriad of challenges, including PTSD, addiction, and fractured relationships.

The film focuses on Adam Schumann, a sergeant haunted by the memories of war, as he attempts to readjust to his role as a husband and father. Alongside his comrades, he is bogged down with bureaucratic red tape and inadequate mental health support, highlighting the stark realities faced by veterans upon their return. If you were taken by the depiction of the aftermath of war in ‘Mending the Line,’ ‘Thank You for Your Service’ will explore the troubled lives of veterans further in a raw look at their battle for healing and redemption.

4. The Way (2010)

With Emilio Estevez in the director’s chair, ‘The Way’ revolves around Tom, a stoic ophthalmologist who embarks on a transformative pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Tom receives word that his son has died while trekking the trail to the Camino de Santiago, and he begins the journey to retrieve his body. As Tom traverses the picturesque landscapes and encounters a diverse array of fellow pilgrims, each facing personal demons and nurturing aspirations, he begins to unravel the layers of grief and regret that have consumed him. While Tom forms unexpected bonds with his fellow travelers, fans of ‘Mending the Line’ will appreciate the film’s narrative of finding solace, camaraderie, and ultimately, a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in life.

3. Wild (2014)

After suffering from tragic events in her life and engaging in self-destructive behavior as a result, Cheryl makes the impromptu decision to begin a 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. While incredibly grueling for the inexperienced hiker, the journey serves to end her downward spiral and starts her on the path of healing. With Jean-Marc Vallée at the helm, the movie is based on Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir ‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.’ Similar to how being close to nature through fly fishing helped the war veterans in ‘Mending the Line,’ hiking for months serves a similar purpose of self-discovery for Cheryl.

2. Lonesome Soldier (2023)

Directed by Nino Aldi, ‘Lonesome Soldier’ chronicles the story of Jackson Harlow, a soldier returning home after the Iraq War and struggling to adjust to civilian life. His family and friends discover that he is suffering from PTSD, and Harlow realizes that he may have left the frontline, but his battles aren’t yet over. Enthusiasts of ‘Mending the Line’ are likely to appreciate ‘Lonesome Soldier’ as it is a hard-hitting film based on a true story. Both films have been praised as an authentic representation of what returning veterans face when attempting to return to their regular lives.

1. A River Runs Through It (1992)

Directed by Robert Redford, ‘A River Runs Through It’ is a poignant tale set in early 20th-century Montana, following the lives of two brothers, Norman and Paul Maclean. Against the backdrop of the scenic Montana wilderness, the film delves into themes of family, nature, and the complexities of life. Norman, the narrator, reflects on his upbringing in a strict Presbyterian household, where his father instilled in him and Paul a deep reverence for fly fishing. As they grow older, the brothers take divergent paths—Norman pursues a scholarly career while Paul becomes enamored with a more rebellious lifestyle.

Despite their differences, the bond between the brothers remains unbreakable, strengthened by their shared love for fishing. However, their idyllic existence is not without its challenges. ‘A River Runs Through It’ and ‘Mending the Line’ both see their protagonists form bonds and reconnect with themselves through fly-fishing. Both films feature breathtaking natural landscapes along with brilliant performances and provide a positive outlook on life.

Read More: Mending the Line: Is the Movie Based on a True Story?