We Review “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things”
If you’re looking for an unbiased review of “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things,” go to Rotten Tomatoes. This author was featured in the movie along with his wife and employer. The protagonists of the film–Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists–are people I choose to call friends; same goes for director Matt D’Avella. On the topic of Minimalism, you might say I fall somewhere between evangelist and zealot. So what do I think about the movie? It eff’ing rocks.
The movie follows Joshua and Ryan as they crossed the country a couple years ago promoting their book “All That Remains.” Interwoven are interviews with the two men about how they went from stressed out, consumer-crazed corporate strivers to blissed out paragons of pared down living and dispensers of hugs.
But a good deal of the film cuts away to talk about applied minimalism and the global impact of consumer culture. There are interviews with the leading figures in the movement and various experts: Zen Habit’s Leo Babauta, Becoming Minimalist’s Joshua Becker, Rowdy Kitten’s Tammy Strobel, neuroscientist/author Sam Harris, Colin Beavan, aka “No Impact Man,” our own Graham Hill and many, many more. Each lends their experience of living a life as a minimalist, but also delve into topics related to “compulsory consumption” and the environmental, social and psychological wake that follows this behavior. Topics include architecture, tiny house living, fashion, meditation and neuroscience. If you weren’t inclined toward a more minimal existence going into the movie, you probably will be at the end.
In 2006, Al Gore released “An Inconvenient Truth”–a film that compelling and concisely outlined the extent and the threat of global warming. In my opinion, nothing trumps this as our number one threat to life as we know it. But the thing that AIT didn’t cover–and this is not a criticism–is the emotional impact our consumer behavior and environmental destruction. We are ravaging our planet, but for what? The Minimalism doc does wonderful job of looking at the human impact of our rapacious treatment of the planet and how it just doesn’t work on virtually any front. And perhaps more importantly, it shows an attractive alternative–a life of less stuff and space, a life filled with more meaning, happiness and hugs. Go see the movie.
The guys are presently doing a cross country tour to promote the film through June (they are offering 10 tickets at door at each showing). But after May 24, the documentary will be showing at over 400 locations across the country. Go here to find a screening near you. The movie will also be available online August 2.