By Mark Saldana
Rating 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
For multiple decades, much has been said about the oft romanticized relationship between Johnny Cash and June Carter. James Mangold’s Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, portrays the love affair as a fairy tale romance. Even I have to admit that I became a sentimental “sucker” for that love story after first watching the movie. There is one major problem, however, and that problem has to do with the way Cash’s ex-wife, and mother of his four daughters, Vivian Liberto is portrayed in the film.
Directed by Matt Middlehoover, My Darling Vivian sets the record straight Vivian Liberto, and offers a thorough and poignant look at her life, her marriage to Johnny Cash (during both good times and bad), and the even lesser-known years after her divorce. The film features intimate interviews with Vivian’s four daughters Rosanne, Tara, Kathy, and Cindy Cash, the ladies who knew their mother the best. Middlehoover’s lovely and occasionally heartbreaking documentary serves as a heartfelt tribute to the wife who deserved better from her husband, the strong, but also vulnerable mother who struggled through stress, loneliness and sorrow to care for her four girls, and the private and humble lady who got her life together following her painful divorce from her husband.
This is a film I must highly recommend for fans of Johnny Cash and especially fans of the movie Walk the Line. That is not to say that My Darling Vivian totally disparages Mangold’s movie, but it does offer.a more accurate and fully realized portrait of Vivian Liberto. The film is currently available for streaming via Amazon and will remain as such until May 7, 2020. To find this documentary or any of the other SXSW 2020 titles available for viewing, somple do a search for the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection.