By Dan Clendenin
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Importance of Things (2016)
This film explores the well known and counter-cultural idea that less can be more. We meet all sorts of “minimalists” in this film — families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a “full-time traveler” who only owns what he can carry. These people are trying to break the grip of our obsessive consumerism by living more simply. Think of the hordes of frenzied shoppers storming the doors of Walmart on Black Friday, or the rise of the huge storage facility industry. Life is more about meaning and less about the accumulation of things. Purists who have already traveled this road and asked these questions might find the film shallow, a brilliant glimpse of the obvious (“You can’t buy happiness” or “It’s why lottery winners are miserable”), and even a sort of self promotion for the blog and book tour by the film makers. Others will see this as the psycho-babble of well-to-do hipsters. Still, those who haven’t asked how and why less can be more might find this a good starting place. For similar films, see the JwJ reviews about the tiny house movement, “No Impact Man,” and in particular the 2011 film “Happy.” I watched this film on Netflix streaming.
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