Movie Review: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

Minimalism Movie Poster


Minimalism is a documentary from the two men behind The Minimalists Website , Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. The movie follows Joshua and Ryan as they embark on a book tour to promote their latest book, which I assume is Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists, based on the publication date. Interwoven between clips of them on tour, are snippets of interviews with other men and women talking about minimalism and other adjacent ideas.

What is Minimalism?

I feel like defining Minimalism is difficult task. The guys over at The Minimalists have an entire page defining Minimalism, with links to several other definitions from other people within the Minimalism space. If I had to put my definition of Minimalism down on paper, I think it would go something like this:

Minimalism: A mental tool that puts intention at the forefront of your decision process and seeks to create a more meaningful and fulfilling life, with less.

Lessons Learned

I hesitated to call this section “Lessons Learned” as I feel like the film didn’t intend to “teach” the viewers. Instead, I think the filmmakers wanted to invoke thought and discussion. Here are my takeaways from the film:

  • Stuff does not equal happiness
  • Put intention behind your purchases. Ask, “Does this thing add value to my life?”
  • Less stuff can be freeing, both physically and mentally
  • A life of less does not mean it’s less full
  • I really should look into meditation and give it a try

A Few Quotes I Loved

In no particular order, here are a few quotes from the movie I enjoyed:

  • “A life of less” – General comment about minimalism
  • “We’re going to have to give up a lot. The secret is that a lot of that we are not going to miss.“ – Talking about the environmental impact of consumerism
  • “Love people and use things, because the opposite never works” – Movie ending quote

Other Resources

Below are links to other Minimalist related resources discussed in the film:


If you are reading this website, this is a film right up your wheelhouse. I don’t think it presented me with any earth shattering new information however, as I was already aware of the Minimalist movement. I had already begun to think about some of the concepts of Minimalism. In fact, last year my wife and I didn’t buy Christmas presents for each other. I can’t speak for her, but I think we may do it again this year. We already have enough stuff. We value time and experiences with family and friends more than we do stuff at this point in our lives. So instead of buying each other Christmas gifts, we took a mini vacation with our kids in the Winter.

If you are not family with the Minimalism movement, I think this is a movie worth watching. It does a good job of introducing the viewer to the concept, but also provokes the viewer to examine his/her own life and how the concepts might apply. I felt like this is exactly what I got from watching this film. A film that promotes useful dialog and thought for the enrichment of our own lives. Can you do more with less? I think I can.

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