The Minimalists: Less Is Now – Netflix Documentary Review



We live in a world driven by stuff. In this Capitalistic nightmare consuming the Western world, it’s easier than ever to accumulate debt, feel worthless and be driven by an innate desire to have the latest gadget or item where FOMO (fear of missing out) takes over. Advertisers are wise to this too, with 70% of digital ad spending coming from three mega companies at the top – Amazon, Google and Facebook.

In fact, I remember learning about advertising during my media studies class and how advertisers tailor their content for the different sexes. For men, it’s a simple case of throwing in scantily clad women draped across said item and using sex and lust to sell. For women however, it’s far more sinister.

The finger-pointing and shaming is rampant, designed to showcase how inadequate you are from the eyelash extensions and hair straighteners to the brand of lipstick used – everything here is designed to make you feel awful and buy said products to feel better.

Of course, I understand the irony of me saying this while operating a website with digital ads to keep the lights on, but it’s the sheer overwhelming amount of advertising in general that’s only getting worse. So how do we get around that? How do we stop ourselves falling down that desperate, money-flinging pit of despair? Well, minimalists Joshua and Ryan are here to say their piece.

After decluttering their own lives, these two best friends set out to ask one simple question: How might your life be better with less?  Across the span of 53 minutes, they set out to answer just that, with a litany of talking head interviews from real people who have taken this advice and de-cluttered their lives.

It’s a simple enough message, driving home that less is more, and something that’s incredibly simple to do too. While it’s not necessarily that groundbreaking, it does have some good points you can use practically in your own life. Using both Joshua and Ryan’s example, this documentary film is a good starting point to living a happier, healthier life with less “stuff” to bring you down.

However, where the film slips up is in the psychological effect advertising and having “stuff” causes, with many people struggling to let go of their possessions. As someone who’s lived with a hoarder, it’s incredibly difficult to break that cycle of buying and this documentary doesn’t dive too deeply into the impact of this, or give any practical advice to turn away from advertising in general.

Adblockers, for example, can work wonders while browsing the internet, while muting ad breaks on TV (a trick I use constantly) can actually really help avoid so much advertising pressure.

As a starting point, The Minimalists: Less Is Now is a decent enough entry and the few practical examples here definitely make a big difference to your mindset. Whether this is enough to escape the clutches of consumerism however, remains to be seen.

  • Verdict - 7/10

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