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Review: ‘The Mindfulness Movement’ offers an important message if you can only tune out the noise

Jewel Kilcher in the documentary ‘The Mindfulness Movement’
Jewel Kilcher in the documentary “The Mindfulness Movement.”
(Abramorama)

The core message of this documentary — that literally everyone can improve their lives through mindfulness — is a valuable one at any time, but it’s especially helpful now. “The Mindfulness Movement” thoughtfully explores how the practice helps quietly combat anxiety, fear, distraction and depression for a variety of people: veterans, students, athletes, politicians and more. Unfortunately, the film’s technical shortcomings make it a challenge to remain present during its running time.

“The Mindfulness Movement” serves as an introduction to the title mental state, offering the insights and experiences of executive producers Deepak Chopra and the musician Jewel, TV journalist Dan Harris, congressman Tim Ryan and a number of others. Each shares the benefits of mindfulness in their lives, while quick meditation exercises are included to help illustrate how people can actually focus on their present moment.

Director Robert Beemer’s feature debut is marked by good intentions, but post-production issues keep it from being successful in its aims. The score is so aggressively mixed that it serves to distract from what interviewees are saying, while anxious camera movement and editing are at odds with the film’s own calming subject matter. The usage of stock footage is expected in a documentary like this, but the choice of clips feels inorganic with Beemer’s overarching style. There’s merit — and in fact, real present need — for what “The Mindfulness Movement” is trying to say, but the film often gets in its own way.

‘The Mindfulness Movement’
Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

Playing: Available April 10 to rent or purchase at TheMindfulnessMovement.com
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