Parents' Guide to

The Mindfulness Movement

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Docu doesn't go deep enough; war images, language.

Movie NR 2020 100 minutes
The Mindfulness Movement Poster Image

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This movie's title may encourage parents to round up the kids so the family can learn how to use mindfulness to ease anxiety, improve focus, and increase coping skills -- but that would be a mistake. Not only is The Mindfulness Movement not likely to keep kids' interest, but it mostly restates, over and over, the benefits of mindfulness while showing people meditating. It doesn't get into specifics or techniques. In fact, there's a good chance that someone totally unfamiliar with mindfulness will walk away still not understanding exactly what it is and how it's achieved. (As schools are getting better at implementing mindfulness training into their curriculum, your kids may know more than what this documentary offers.) And the style of the film makes it feel almost like an industry video: something you show to the administrator of a school, prison, athletic program, etc., to convince them to implement a program. From the generic score (how did executive producer Jewel approve the music?) to the antiseptic voice-over, the presentation detracts from the movie's powerful stories.

To be fair, though, the title does say exactly what the film is about. The film successfully communicates how mindfulness began, its evolution out of the yoga and self-exploration movements of the 1960s and '70s, and how it's getting great results among police agencies, business leaders, prisoners, and students. Part of that growth lies in products -- and as wise and inspirational as guru Deepak Chopra is, he certainly has created a financial empire out of mindfulness. The time the movie spends promoting his app, his subscriptions, his retreats, and his products feels uncomfortable -- especially the part about his biofeedback headband, which costs several hundred dollars. Harris' book and app are also frequently and positively featured. While the film encourages you not to stop and think, if you did, you might realize you're watching an infomercial.

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