The Minimalists: Less Is Now (2021) Review

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Deja Vu

The Minimalists: Less Is Now (2021): 5 out of 10: I am a fan of the message more than the messenger. Is it possible to have a bloated documentary about Minimalism?

The Good

The Good: I love minimalism. I have an entire bookcase filled with books about minimalism. I am certainly the target audience.

The Bad

The Bad: Have you seen 2015’s Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things? It is on Netflix right next to this one. Same director (Matt D’Avella) and some of the same talking heads. Has anything changed since 2015? Apparently not.

In theory, I have no problem watching a show or movie that covers the same ground as a previous show. I have watched every episode of Hoarders for example and Is it Cake? seems to have the same basic outcome each episode as well. For some reason, even though six years separate them, this one kind of bothered me. It really is the same guys telling the exact same story, bringing nothing new to the table.

The Ugly

The Ugly: You know there is a pandemic right? I mean, this documentary was obviously filmed during the pandemic. I wonder how the pandemic, the resulting supply chain issues and other issues affected people in the minimalistic lifestyle? That is just sitting there as an interesting and topical point of discussion. Something fresh that clearly was not covered in your 2015 documentary.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: Well this is a short review. Somehow that seems on point for a documentary about minimalism. The video below called Toast on how to make a Netflix documentary about anything (or nothing) was definitely studied by these filmmakers. The Minimalists: Less Is Now is by the book with no new information.

Surprisingly accurate picture of Netflix’s current suggestions page for me.
This is not a scene from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Do the Minimalists even mention fellow Netflixer Marie Kondo? No. Do they mention any techniques that are inspired by the minimalism movement or any of the people who have influenced it? Except for one they claim to have come up with themselves that I highlight below again, the answer is no.
Annie Leonard is an on point spokesperson. Primarily due to her animated short The Story of Stuff about the lifecycle of consumer goods. The documentary could have used a lot more of her.
Dave Ramsey is not as an on point guest as Annie Leonard above, but he is in the ballpark. I know he can be a controversial figure. And I am not sure how someone with a 14,000 square-feet house is a spokesperson for minimalism. That said, he is reasonably on point with his commentary.
One recommendation of The How to Make a Netflix Style Documentary About Almost Anything is plenty of stock footage. The Minimalists: Less Is Now certainly does not disappoint.
Other recommendations are to write on the screen.
And Useless Graphs
This is a hoarding pet peeve of mine. I live in a quiet working class neighborhood in Florida. I swear I am the only person who can park their car in their garage. I just don’t get it. You leave your second most expensive item outside in the elements while you use your garage to store Christmas decorations from The Dollar Store and baby clothes junior outgrew ten years ago.
Courtney is one of our minimalists fans joining the film on Zoom. But hold on, do I see throw pillows on her couch?
The Minimalists’ one idea is to pack all your items into boxes as if you are moving and then only take out items as you need them. I have heard this idea before and there are some problems with it. Starting with who in hell would want to do a fake move? Then there is the hammer issue (A Konmari problem that was eventually solved in later iterations). In Konmari, a hammer does not necessarily bring you joy. In the moving task, it is unlikely I will need a hammer anytime soon. But I know that I eventually will. So whether it sits in a “moving box” for one week or six months is irrelevant.

Also, did he spray paint all his books white to create a minimalist look? Yikes.
Another of our paint it white crew. You know you can be minimalist and enjoy color.
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