Barefoot – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

Imagine a Cinderella/ Rapunzel inspired film in which there are no animal friends, or evil sisters, just a wicked mother, and a prince who helps turn the would-be princess’ life around.

Trigger Warning(s): Mental Illness depictions

Review (with Spoilers)

Despite not reviewing a lot of Evan Rachel Wood productions, I must say that I am quite the fan of hers. If just because each of her characters have an interesting angle to them. For while some of her movies certainly are boring, she presents herself as a sort of silver lining. With this film, though, she plays a character which has the persona of a troubled Disney princess who meets her would-be prince who is far from a knight in shining armor. Leading to the question: is this another one of those films in which she is the silver lining, or is the film good as a whole?

Characters & Story

The film’s primary focus is on Jay (Scott Speedman) who is the eldest son of a rich southern family. Now, despite Jay’s MBA education, and his privileged upbringing, it seems all he has ever been was the rebel without a cause. So, to distance himself from his last major blemish on the family name, he moves out west and ends up getting in trouble with not just the law, but also the mob. But with his younger brother getting married, and Jay trying to seem like he has his life put together, there is a need to show that he has begun the process of settling down. Enter Daisy (Evan Rachel Wood) who is a new mental patient at the hospital Jay works at. They mutually take advantage of each other and somehow find love between putting up a ruse and trying to deal with the police in pursuit of both of them.

Praise

As usual, Wood presents herself as a highlight and presents Daisy as this kooky, but likable, character who despite being rather simple does have some complexity. For while she does have this Disney princess persona, because she was sheltered all her life, abused by her mother, and pretty much is a weirdo, at the same time you can see her grow as she interacts with Jay. And through him, she starts discovering, bit by bit, what it means to love someone and deal with challenges that come with someone being your whole world while you are simply a part of theirs.

And the story as a whole, while certainly not the best, it does keep things interesting. Something which leads Speedman to deserve some praise for while perhaps not the most charismatic, he plays a decent enough love interest to Wood to at least make their relationship something of interest for the film.

Criticism

With all that said, I really do feel that me being a fan of Wood was the sole thing that kept me interested in this movie. For one, Jay’s whole backstory really feels underdeveloped. Be it his issues with the mob, why he is on probation, and I also felt like there should have been more to his issues with his dad than lost money. Then, even with Wood, there is sort of a double-edged sword to her character. For while I like the whole Disney princess persona, at the same time it does make you wonder, based off characters Wood has played in the past, why would she play someone like this? For while Daisy arguably can be complex, at face value she comes off so simple it sort of amazes you that she is even capable of half of what Jay asks of her. And honestly, as cute as her ditzy ways can come off, at the same time I can imagine Wood’s performance possibly leading to some rolling their eyes.

Overall: TV Viewing

As I watched this I thought I would label this as “Worth Seeing.” However, as I wrote the review and really thought about the weak aspects of the film, I felt the need to downgrade it. After all, with Wood’s performance being the highlight, but not one which has universal appeal, it makes this hard to recommend as “worth seeing.” So, because of that, I think this is simply a “TV Viewing” type movie. For while I liked Daisy, the underdeveloped background of Jay does put a hamper on things, as well as Daisy perhaps being too simple.

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?