Film Review: “Minimalism”

Seeing guys with houses, cars and expensive phones talk about minimalism made me laugh.

And there’s the minimalist version of my review of “Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things” already.

Seriously, though, this is an important subject wasted on a bad film. A film which is basically an advert for selling books. (Which in itself is not very minimalist, because you could get the books from the library.)

The film was short on practical advice, and it was especially short on exploring the “why?” behind minimalism. You don’t get rid of stuff to get rid of stuff. It’s not a competition and it shouldn’t be a fad. You get rid of stuff because acquiring and keeping it costs you time (by selling it to an employer or directly to customers), and you have better things to do with your time. Hopefully.


In my case, the better things to do with my time are traveling, enjoying nature, reading, studying and writing. I realize that I am extremely lucky because almost all of these things don’t cost much. Nature is free. Books are free at the library. Writing requires merely a pen and paper.

“But how can you afford to travel so much?” people always ask, because traveling is something that a great many people are keen on. And, to their surprise, minimalism is the answer! I can travel so much because I don’t own a car, because I don’t own a house, because I never bought an Apple product in my life. (I explain the connection in this article.)

People sometimes reply: “Oh no, I couldn’t live like that! I need 20 pairs of shoes, the Apple Watch, and let me buy another dress that I will never wear. After that, I will travel.” And then they wonder why they can’t afford to travel for half of the year, every year. Well, the answer is sitting right there in their bedroom, when they look at 20 pairs of shoes, of which they can’t wear 19. Most of us have only two feet, and it ain’t the number of shoes that counts, but where we walk.

Traveling, at least the way I do it, being away for months, is also a great teacher for minimalism. Everything I need has to fit in a backpack. There is no point in accumulating a lot of stuff if I won’t be home for 10 months of the year. (Actually, I don’t really have a home of my own.) The more you move, the more you realize that stuff is a burden, not an asset.

Also, for a film about minimalism, the movie was terribly long and repetitive. I stopped halfway into it. It would have been more fun to watch if they had invited me. But I am too minimalist to be crazy about marketing myself. I am just happy to sit under a tree.


And that’s one problem with minimalism and adventurism and many other worthwhile concepts: You will rarely ever hear from those who practice them well. Because those people don’t care about being on YouTube or giving TEDx talks.


About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Cinema, Economics, USA. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Film Review: “Minimalism”

  1. Another thing that you don’t have is dependents. Those cost more money than anything else. But they ARE an investment and the dividends are nice.😉😁

    • Very long-term investments, though. And I don’t know if there is a liquid market if you want to get rid of them. :P

      But yes, I am really really happy that I don’t have any children. And that I never wanted any, so I never had to run a cost/benefit analysis.

      But even people with children don’t need 20 pairs of shoes or three cars, I guess. So there is still plenty of space for minimalism. My parents always got me books from the public library. And second-hand clothes from some poverty shop run by the Social Democratic Party.

  2. zifahblogs says:

    Is there actually such a thing as a poverty shop? Or is that just your deprecating way of describing them.

    Just like you, I had to stop watching minimalism before halfway because it didn’t feel like they were teaching me anything, but really just showing off.

    • It’s just a deprecating word for the thrift shop. In the UK, I learned that they are called “charity shops”.
      Actually, I usually get clothes and books from there, I find it a good idea. But as a child, it somehow felt weird. Maybe, though, I was just against shopping in general because I was already a minimalist.

      I am thankful for your comment, because I was already worried that I was overly critical. But if you felt the same, then they really wasted a good opportunity to make an important film.

  3. I once had a girlfriend who thought she was a minimalist because she bought only every second I-phone.

  4. Pingback: Minimalismus lernen von den Kleinen | Der reisende Reporter

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