MRR Review: "Barefoot"

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The "black sheep" son (Scott Speedman) of a wealthy family meets a free-spirited, but sheltered woman (Evan Rachel Wood). To convince his family that he's finally straightened out his life, he takes her home for his brother's wedding where an unexpected romance blooms.
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Rating: PG-13

Length: 90 minutes

Release Date: February 21, 2014

Directed by: Andrew Fleming

Genre: Comedy / Drama / Romance

 

Director Andrew Fleming, who is also known for directing "The Craft," tells the story of an outcast in this modern love story. "Barefoot" tells the tale of a man who is the black sheep of his wealthy family; on the other side of the film, the story of a young woman who has been sheltered all of her life unfolds. The two characters have a chance meeting at which time the man sees an opportunity to turn his life around. Though this movie is a romantic comedy, the intentions of the main character are not totally pure in the beginning.

"Barefoot" is a remake of a German flick from 2005 by the same name, which won a Bambi Award for the Best National Film. In this rendition, the main characters are played by Scott Speedman and Evan Rachel Wood. Speedman, who is known for his roles in the "Underworld" movies, plays the role of Jay, an unruly bachelor. Wood, who is best known for her roles in "True Blood" and "Thirteen," stars as Daisy, a girl who has been kept inside of her house most of her life.

Speedman's character is a bachelor with a low set of morals. For him, one-night stands are the norm, and he likes to gamble a little too much. Jay finds himself in debt and owing the wrong kind of people money. Luckily for him, he comes from a wealthy Southern family. Though they live far away in New Orleans, an event is coming up which gives him the perfect opportunity to beg them for help. There is a slight problem, though. He needs to make a good impression with his family to get the money he needs to save his own hide. This is where Daisy comes in.

Daisy was kept in her house, sheltered from everything for the majority of her life. While taking a trip outside of the mental institution she lives in, she has an encounter with Jay that changes both of their lives. Her innocence and lack of life experience leave her ready for an adventure, and taking off with Jay to New Orleans is the ideal place to start. After all, she did not go to school, attend any dances or have much interaction outside her house before moving to the mental institution. The sheltered environment in which she was brought up has left her damaged and almost with a child-like demeanor. One of Daisy's main quirks that might prevent her from joining Jay at his family's mansion is that she does not like to wear shoes. Though there is this little hurdle, Jay says, "Besides not liking shoes, I think she is highly functional."

Together, Jay and Daisy work to win over his parents. Jay starts out just using Daisy for her charming demeanor, but eventually he too is wooed by her sweet innocence. As the film progresses, the audience sees Daisy transform from a girl that has never so much as danced with anyone to a woman going on an adventure of a lifetime with a man with whom she is truly falling in love. With Jay, she drinks champagne for the first time, goes to a carnival and even outsmarts a sheriff that is after Jay, who is facing serious charges for taking Daisy out of state without permission. 

Daisy's past pops up at times throughout the movie, giving viewers a glimpse of how messed up her childhood actually was. At one point in the movie, Jay's mom goes and gets him because Daisy is scrubbing the bathroom. When he confronts her about what she is doing, she explains that she was told that is how love is earned. It is at this point in "Barefoot" that movie-goers see the softness in Jay's eyes, and it is touching how he explains to her that people love others because they just do, not because they have earned it. Daisy's pure, uninhibited love has changed this hardened bad boy, and it is completely evident to viewers when Jay tells his father that she has forever changed the way he thinks about his future.

Evan Rachel Wood, who is not normally known for such a soft role, perfectly captures the innocence of this character and brings her to the screen in the best way. Her facial expressions as Daisy experiences life are spot-on. On the same note, Scott Speedman is the ideal bad boy for this movie. His scruffy appearance lends to his "tough guy" persona, yet his kind eyes perfectly capture the tender moments of "Barefoot."

With the ideal cast for such a film, as well as an award-winning storyline, "Barefoot" is a must-see flick. The story leaves guests feeling sorry for Daisy and Jay at times, while at other times movie-goers are filled with hope for their future together. The roller coaster of emotions keeps the movie interesting and ensures a positive viewing experience.

Rating: 3 out of 5