My Darling Vivian
Typically framed through misconceptions, assumptions and blatant lies, Johnny Cash’s first wife Vivian Liberto finally has her side of the story revealed in My Darling Vivian. The heart-wrenching documentary uncovers the tale of a resilient woman and lioness mother whose image was historically obscured. Hollywood branded her as Cash’s “evil first wife” due to his celebrated relationship with his second wife June Carter, but thanks to director Matt Riddlehoover the world can finally understand the trials and terrors that plagued the underestimated and underappreciated woman for decades.
Viewers are taken through the Cash love story, from its fairytale beginnings to its bitter end, as the country music legend established his fame in the early 1950s and 60s. Narrated by their daughters, Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash Tittle, Cindy Cash, and Tara Cash Schwoebel, the biopic features rare archive photo and video footage of the family. Memories are proven to be ever-changing as each sister describes the story through her own personal lens, but a significant constant remains: Vivian was a loyal wife and dedicated mother who was dealt a difficult hand.
As Cash’s career took off, Vivian found herself suddenly transitioning from new wife to abandoned mother as the singer was away on tour from practically the beginning of their marriage. When Cash had to face his addiction, problems between the couple ensued, including their infamous battle against racism as Vivian was mistakenly identified as being African American following a darkened photo of her circulating in newspapers. As threats by the KKK caused her to sleep with a shotgun for the sake of her husband’s dreams and wishes, the documentary beautifully profiles Vivian and highlights her struggles in a way that helps the audience appreciate her strengths.
For anyone who thinks they know the story of Johnny Cash, or for anyone who has seen Walk the Line, My Darling Vivian is an outright essential watch.
My Darling Vivian is released digitally on demand in the US on 19th June 2020.
Watch the trailer for My Darling Vivian here: