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‘Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story’ review: An inspiring tale of what one person can do

Heartfelt and fun.

Barefoot: The Mark Baumer story has a lot of ground it can cover. Baumer was an activist who did things his own way. A self published poet, Baumer’s was going to walk across America barefoot to bring awareness to climate change. Though he tragically never completed his “Barefoot Across America” project, he left behind an impressive legacy.

Director Julie Sokolow makes sure to keep her documentary focused. There are touches of Baumer’s works but Barefoot is mainly about is 2016 journey. It is a wise decision since Baumer was so prolific. Barefoot uses Baumer’s video diary to capture the essence of the activist’s personality. The spirit of adventure, the risk taking, and the intense energy all come through. The audience knows what type of person Baumer is.

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Sokolow takes the film to the next step by also providing insight into Baumer’s beliefs. The footage of his attempted walk across the country is very enlightening. This is most obvious when Baumer learns news that Donald Trump has been elected President. He is dismayed then almost immediately states how everyone has to fix things themselves. This demonstrates not only what Baumer stands for, but his passion.

Barefoot is filled with many great interviews. The subjects add to the picture of Baumer. He was more than an environmentalist activist. These moments show an artist with an office job trying to figure his life out. They also normalize Baumer as more than just an activist. This is a nice touch that balances the charming, if abrasive, Baumer.

Baumer was an inspiring figure even before his death during his walk. The effect he had on the people in his life are clearly seen during Barefoot’s many interviews. Each person cannot help but smile when they talk about him. Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story is a loving look at an interesting man. His death may have garnered the sensational headlines, but the messages he stood for during his life are still felt today. 

Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story comes to VOD and Digital October 27.

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