SXSW Movie Review: TINY: A Story About Living Small

tiny1Could you live in a home that only spanned 200 square feet or less? The documentary TINY: A Story About Living Small explores this possibility and growing trend. The story centers around Christopher, who has decided to build a tiny house to put on a plot of land he’s purchased in Colorado. His idea was to build only what he needed, as well as imposing as little as possible on the beautiful land he’s admired enough to purchase. His plan was to build this tiny house by himself in three to four months, which was really ambitious considering he’d never built anything before.

Watching Christopher build this house, with the help of his girlfriend at times, was the epitome of the YouTube generation. Every time he needed to learn how to install a light, or sew a curtain, we saw him pulling up the how-to videos on his phone or laptop. But whatever works! I’ve used YouTube many times to teach myself how to do something as well.

tiny4In addition to watching Christopher build his tiny dream, there were many talking head interviews with other tiny home owners all over the country. It is through their testimony that we learn the importance of owning a small home. The biggest message was to not live beyond your means. There were stories of financial stress, dreams of freedom from the burden of always working a job they hated so they could pay for things they didn’t need. Wow, kind of sounds like the mantra of Tyler Durden (Fight Club). As well, there were others who just weren’t happy in their current situation of life and dreamed of owning their own home. Their house may have been small but it’s all they’ve ever wanted.

tiny3This film fills the viewer with joy and hope that one day everyone could be free from the burdens of society and have their own little piece of land with no mortgage tying them down. Living tiny is certainly not for everyone. It takes a certain mentality to feel comfortable in less than 200 square feet. You have to be extremely organized and very creative about storage. You must live a life of minimalism and drop the mentality that shopping cures everything. Once your home is moved into and decorated, that’s it. No more adding new picture frames to the walls, buying another piece of furniture or starting a new hobby of collecting things. If this sounds like the life for you, then you would be a great candidate for living small.

There are some downsides to living small. If you opt to build the house yourself, you had better know what you are doing. In a house that small, it would be impossible to avoid the roof leaking on you. Living in a tiny space would only accommodate two at the most, so no parties with friends or large family gatherings on holidays. tiny2If you did live with another in the small home and got into a fight, how could you separate in the small space in order to cool off? Then of course, if you decided to procreate, I think safety and space are big factors in living small. However, the bigger picture here seems to be about sustainability and being a better person to the Earth. Most of us live in homes that are too large for us. Think about it. You may say, “no way, I need at least this much space for all my stuff.” But do you really need all that stuff? If you were to live with only what you absolutely needed to get by day to day, you could probably live in a smaller home too. Maybe a tiny home is too tiny for your comfort but the idea behind the documentary is to open your mind to the many possibilities of downsizing in this new world, post-housing-market-crash. This film will open your eyes not only to the possibilities of living small, but get you talking with others about living more sustainably. We need more people like Christopher who think outside the box and force us to start thinking smart.

I give TINY: A Story About Living Small 4 “tiny animals”out of 5

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by Angela Davis

About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.



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