‘The Minimalists: Less Is Now’ review: Inspiring Netflix doc with a great deal of relatability

In less than an hour, the film tackles issues with consumer choices, hoarding, the effect of capitalism, and more

January 06, 2021 03:21 pm | Updated 03:24 pm IST

A still from ‘The Minimalists: Less Is Now’

A still from ‘The Minimalists: Less Is Now’

Everyone has that one item in their drawers that serves no real purpose, but never finds itself in the garbage bin. For many, it isn’t just the one item. Believe it or not, most of us are hoarders to some degree. “We love stuff,” author Dave Ramsey says in the documentary The Minimalists: Less is Now, and we can’t disagree with the statement.

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Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus write and narrate their second Netflix project after Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things in 2015, which does more than shed light on our slavery to capitalism. Directed by Matt D’Avella, the 53-minute film talks about why minimalism is an essential lifestyle change that one can either adopt now or be forced to comply with in the future.

In the digital era, everything from hairpin to a house can be bought online and the Internet is just a customised marketplace posing as an innocuous fun place. With targeted ads converting all our wants to needs, we cannot help but give in to the temptation of filling our lives with materialistic things in the hopes of finding true happiness. The documentary implores you to question your choices and realise that human wants are countless and unlimited, and one cannot truly achieve happiness in “stuff.”

However, the minimalistic approach to lifestyle is on the rise, especially in the western side of the world. Whether practitioners chose it for monetary or environmental reasons, they all claim that the switch has brought an overwhelmingly positive change. In theory, getting rid of things we do not use, sounds easy. But parting ways with junk can be harder than one imagines. “We often confuse simplicity with easy, living a simple life takes a lot of work,” Nicodemus debunks a misconception many have about living a simple and minimalistic life.

Intercut with interviews from experts in economics and environment and everyday minimalists are shots of Millburn and Nicodemus in a one-man play fashion, monologuing on their personal journeys which give the film a docu-drama vibe. Aside from the dramatic reenactment of their lives before minimalism and forced narration scripted lines, the documentary leaves the audience much to enjoy and reflect on.

The film exposes our consumer patterns, explains why we hold on to junk, gives a 30-day declutter plan, and educates on the benefits of intentional living in an encouraging and non-judgemental way. Besides its minor flaws in execution, Less is Now is an inspiring film with a great deal of relatability.

The Minimalists: Less Is Now is currently streaming on Netflix


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