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The Minimalists: Less Is Now 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: Matt D’Avella
Stars: Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus, Dave Ramsey
Stuff. We all have it. We all buy it. We all can’t get enough of it. And it’s not necessarily our fault; we’re bombarded with ads from every angle and every device we own, and we’re led to believe that we won’t really be happy until we have that phone, or that outfit, that car, or that house. It’s so easy to buy things that we think will solve our problems or make us better. The Minimalists: Less is Now isn’t judging you for your stuff. Instead, this documentary reflects on the cycles we’ve fallen into, the reasons behind our addictions, and how living with less may actually lead to a much, much richer existence.
Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known for their successful podcast, books, and the way they’ve been able to change millions of lives with their minimalist methods, are the anchor of the film, sharing their life stories with us and the way they learned to let go of their stuff. Joshua and Ryan grew up in similar households and met as teens, and while their lives led them down different paths for a time, their shared discontentment with their seemingly full lives wound up bringing them back together in pursuit of something more (or less). Combining personal commentary with profound social and cultural insight, The Minimalists: Less is Now may help you stop reaching for the wrong kind of “more” and start reaching for the right kind of “less”.
Memorable Dialogue: It might sound simple, but I love the way minimalism is summed up in the film: “The intentional use of the resources you have.” I think so often we get stuck with this idea that minimalism is this stark, white, Scandinavian existence rather than simply living with less and freeing ourselves of the things we don’t actually need. And what another expert says later, “if you get more of a wrong thing, it becomes less,” also stuck with me. They really know how to drive home an idea.
While I admittedly rolled my eyes at the inclusion of Dave Ramsey as an interview subject, I found myself pretty mesmerized by The Minimalists: Less is Now. The notion that we’re slaves to capitalism is not necessarily a new one, but the way The Minimalists addresses our addiction to consuming is both informative and emotionally resonant. It seems like we’re existing in a world where we have more choice than ever, but in fact, we have very few choices. Every move we make is monitored, and every relentless ad we see has been perfectly catered to our likes and wants and needs. It’s no wonder we can’t stop our Prime deliveries and online shopping binges, even in the middle of a pandemic. What this documentary suggests, however, is that all this stuff isn’t necessarily leading to a more fulfilling or better life. In fact, it may be keeping us from achieving just that.
How might our lives be better with less? Based on all of the people interviewed in The Minimalists: Less is Now, there are many ways. Less clutter and more space – both literally and figuratively – lead to more full lives. Ryan and Joshua describe at length how they finally achieved their dreams of steady income and luxurious lifestyles and found themselves feeling emptier than ever, and most of the people in this film seem to be the same. It’s inspiring enough to want to toss one thing out a day for a month yourself and see what happens.
While I did find the film incredibly compelling, some of the choices felt odd – like having Ryan and Joshua stand in jarring sets to describe their personal struggles – and I couldn’t help but wonder why The Minimalists isn’t a series, like The Home Edit or Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. There’s something so inherently cathartic and soothing about truly cleansing a space in the way this duo and other minimalists do, and I’d love to see it serialized. I’m sure I won’t be alone in this. Despite this small issues, however, The Minimalists: Less is Now is a worthy addition to the plethora of life and home improvement titles on Netflix, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this duo and the movement that they’re helping spread around the world.