Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (a review)

On Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to go see a screening of Minimalism, which is a documentary put together by The Minimalists, some of my favorite podcasters (much better known for their website and books). Unlike their other projects, though, this was mostly dedicated to yelling the stories of other minimalists, including Courtney Carver, Joshua Becker, Leo Babauta, and Tammy Strobel. What’s awesome about that is minimalism is often portrayed as something only single white guys do, so it was a lot of fun to see the ways in which these other individuals interacted with the idea of minimalism.

My biggest critique is that I wish they had actually spent more time on this part of the film. They also spent a good bit of time following Josh and Ryan’s tour for their last book and telling their stories. They have great stories, but as someone who’s read most of their blog and two of their books, as well as listening to their podcast, I’m very familiar with them. For me, the interviews with different minimalists as well as experts in things like mindfulness and consumption were the more compelling and fresh part of the story.

But if you’re not familiar with their work, or even if you are, I do recommend the documentary. They interview some fascinating people and make some very good arguments about the value of owning less and focusing more on what really matters to you. They show how different people define what’s important and orient their lifestyle around that — minimalism looks different for everybody. Plus, there are some gorgeous shots of landscapes all over the country and some fabulous sunrise shots. Just saying.

Ultimately, the documentary did exactly what it was supposed to do — as I left the theater and was driving home, I thought hard about how I could spend more time on the things that are important and less on the things that aren’t. And what more could you possibly ask for?

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