• Strictly Films

My Darling Vivian; Grade: B+

Happy new week everyone and welcome back to the SXSW Amazon Prime virtual film festival collab coverage! I can’t believe we’re almost done with all the films, I’ve had a chill time for the most part. YouTube, Tribeca, and other film festivals have collabed for a We Are One Virtual Film Festival, which will be coming at the end of the month May 29th... Every where I turn, more new films. Looking forward to that, but let’s talk about the SXSW selected documentary film My Darling Vivian.

The documentary is based around Johnny Cash’s first wife Vivian Liberto, whom was the mother of Cash’s first four daughters. In history little has been discovered around Vivian, in society she was considered an enemy due to portrayals in films. But what if I told you Vivian Liberto and Johnny Cash had a true romantic story? What if I told you that like Johnny Cash’s music, Vivian was also a hero as a mother, but never got any recognition? Witness a fascinating documentary that’ll make your heart warm, then crush it into a million pieces.

One main complaint I have with the film, the film making does reminds you of a documentary film. Like the film making style really isn’t all that special, I did like the old found footage shots, but other than that the way the interviews were shot weren’t all that impressive. To think that I walked away from Le Choc Du Futur, thinking that was the best film of the festival... My Darling Vivian comes out of nowhere and steals the spotlight, easily the best documentary of the year so far. Keep in mind, I’ve never seen Walk the Line, so I didn’t really have much of an opinion on Johnny Cash’s first wife. Even if you saw that film, I still believe you’re going to learn so much about Johnny Cash’s first wife, than you didn’t know before. The whole story of Vivian’s life can be described as once a beautiful love story, then it turns into a devastating heart break, but as well as a very inspiring story. Through the great beginnings of Vivian’s life with Johnny Cash, we are introduced to many undiscovered love letters, in which could be describe from any chick flick. The love these two had for each other was extremely sweet, like just the language they spoke to each other makes anyone’s heart melt.

Where things fell apart for these two, came from Johnny Cash’s rise to stardom. Due to being on the road for a great amount of time in the year, is where Cash drifts away from Vivian as he became addicted to drugs, while falling for a famous singer. The way things ended for these two love birds was honestly upsetting, you felt they were made for each other until the very end, but fame really gotten into Cash’s head as he forgotten what was important to his life. Does the film make you lose respect for Cash?! Honestly it doesn’t. Sure we like to see this romantic tale go on forever, but keep in mind we shouldn’t fault Cash for pursing his dreams, which provided Vivian and the kids a roof over their head. Plus he still cared for Vivian’s well being, as we see Cash stood up for Vivian in a time of need when she couldn’t proceed in communion at the church. He was just a human being like any of us, he adapted fame, drugs, and found someone new in his life, which made him drift apart from Vivian. Like the daughters in this documentary I was freaking upset, but at the end of the day you can’t force someone to love someone, in which they don’t love anymore. Plus Cash still stood around for his kids and helped them out, so he’s not any less of a guy than he already is: A Troubled Talented Being.

Through all Vivian has been through in her entire life, the fact she kept her spirit up, and did her job as a independent mother was extremely inspiring. Though times got tough for Vivian, she remained loyal to her young girls as she kept care of them until her dying day, in which many moments in her life she could’ve easily given up on herself. Her character speaks many volumes for all the unsung heroes we call Mothers, through thick and thin you never give up, as you provide endless love for your children in which Vivian did so. Honestly Cash is the last person to get upset with, whom you should be upset with is society and mainly the media. The way these people treated Vivian was honestly disgusting, given her absolutely no respect whatsoever. It’s funny how today’s media can be similar to media back then, society completely judging someone they honestly know nothing about. Like how do you know Vivian as a person, just by a couple newspaper ads?! When it came to Johnny Cash’s memorial I was honestly pissed off, how dare these people give Vivian absolutely no respect for the unlimited amount of care she’s done for Johnny’s life and more importantly their children. I hope My Darling Vivian gets a distribution deal in the future, for a documentary it’s honestly a gem in the substance department, an absolutely fascinating story that is heartbreaking yet touching in many ways. You felt emotionally connected with someone you hardly known from the start, as when a documentary film has the viewer become invested in ones life, I think it did it’s moral purpose well.

Overall, My Darling Vivian is a great documentary film and the best film of the festival so far. I highly recommend this film, one of the best films of the year as well. Whelp my time with the festival is almost over as all I have left is Selfie... Let’s hope it all ends on a high note. -Mitch Smietana

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