The Minimalists are living the life they preach about. I think that lends them great credibility. As one who makes a point to live simple, this review of the documentary, Minimalism, reflects my honest thoughts and opinions.
Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn have been running their website, The Minimalists, for almost a decade. About a year ago, they released the film, Minimalism. Yesterday, it came out on Netflix. Today, I review the film.
Because I’m a minimalist myself, I waited for the documentary to come to Netflix instead of buying it earlier. (I have Netflix for my 11-year-old daughter.) Watching the film made up most of my two hours of TV viewing for the week.
The documentary, Minimalism, should be a must-watch, not only for anyone who wants to live a simpler life, but for everyone. There’s only one way out from the problems we’ve created in our modern consumption-based society. The answer is simple: Live with less. It will help us both personally and as a society.
A Good Review Points Out The Good And The Bad
A great review looks at the whole of something and discusses both the good and the bad. I’m not a movie critic by profession, but I’ll be following that rule. I mostly have good things to say about the documentary, Minimalism, but I also have a couple of pieces of constructive criticism.
Overall, I loved the message of this film. We buy too much. We spend too much time using media. And we live too big. We allow our kids to have too much. The documentary was fast too point out all of these things and more.
The film included guests appearances from an all-star cast of minimalists including, Joshua Becker, Leo Babauta, Courtney Carver, and Graham Hill. I won’t hold it against The Minimalists that they left me out.
5 Things I Liked About The Film, “Minimalism”
- Freedom: The documentary promotes an idea of finding freedom by living with less. Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn both made conscious decisions to leave corporate professions and live with less, They discovered that living with less leads to more freedom and better relationships.
- Environment: I thought the film could have a stronger message about how much consumerism is harming the environment. There was some mention to this problem, but perhaps more review in this area could make the film more impactful for a generation being raised green.
- Small spaces: I love looking at tiny homes and I enjoyed seeing those parts within the film. However, personally, I’d recommend making use of existing spaces rather than creating new tiny spaces. If one of the goals of minimalism is to stop consuming, then using existing spaces with limited remodel makes more sense than creating new spaces.
- Consumerism: The movie didn’t ignore the idea that we still have needs. It’s okay to buy stuff. The problem is simply that many people buy too much stuff. They try to fill a void with material things. That void is actually better filled by getting rid of unneeded stuff and living a more meaningful life. Only buy what adds value.
- Personal touch: This was my favorite thing about the film. Joshua and Ryan both offered personal stories about hardships they’ve faced both as kids and adults. This gives the film a warm personal feel. I liked that.
My Final Review Analysis
I thought the film was done well. The filmography and the music were tasteful. The interviews were meaningful. Overall, the film had a great message and a fine quality about it.
I would have liked to have seen more minimalist geography and filmography used in the making of the film. I would have liked the music to have been more minimalist in style. The film also could have moved a little slower. In other words, I’d have liked to have seen more artistic license used to express the message of the film.
Part of the dilemma of spreading the message of minimalism is this: In order to spread the message, we must become part of the medium that we are sometimes critical of.
So the film was produced in a documentary style that can be viewed on Netflix? I can’t find fault in The Minimalists for using this popular medium, even if it does seem ironic. I also use a variety of media to promote minimalism. It’s impossible to avoid if we want to create true change in the world.
In the end, I would give Minimalism 4.5 of 5.0 stars. Thank you Joshua and Ryan for creating this film.