Single Sentence Review:
Tiny: A Story About Living Small is just like the tiny houses the film talks about: bare-boned, no-frills, sometimes feels like it’s taking too long to finish, but mostly satisfying.
Single Sentence Review Extended Cut:
Tiny: A Story About Living Small follows Christopher Smith, boyfriend of the film’s director Merete Mueller, as he hopes to in the mountain areas of Colorado by building a small cabin onto a trailer, making it so tiny and mobile that building codes and laws do not apply. Did I mention that he has no experience at all, just a truck, his girlfriend, and whatever knowledge he can acquire via blogs and YouTube how-to videos? As we follow Smith’s uphill battle to achieve his dream of living small yet free, the audience is treated to interview with other “tiny housers” that live and work from full fledged homes big enough to fit in most back yards. Tiny provides a window into a niche but apparently growing movement of people who are simplify their lifestyle starting with the home.
The film itself is well shot with nice environmental scenes accented by a pleasant twangy country score. A film of this nature, due to its content, had to have been low budget and it shows, but I do not mean that in a derogatory way. The film itself is also small, running at one hour and one minute.
The interviewees are varied from tiny house bloggers, to families, to couples, to a woman who is diagnosed with congested heart disease. The question of why these people choose to live in spaces under 300 square feet ventures into a variety of discussion topics such the environment, consumer culture, the societal focus on property owning, among others. By the end of the film, the viewer sees the cost (both fiscally and physically) it takes to build one of these condensed homes while comparing it to paying a mortgage on a larger home that many people cannot afford to truly enjoy.
The film itself is fairly informative and educational without getting too judgmental or preachy (in fact one of the pioneers of the tiny house movement bought a regular house in order to properly shelter his wife and two children). The documentary itself isn’t very visually daring, it can be riveting for those who are curious about this lifestyle. The short run-time is also a plus, since a film about this topic and this pace could only hold a person’s attention for that allotted amount of time. Needless to say, if you are curious about tiny houses or minimalist living, either as a topic or as a possibility, check it out. If that’s not a subject you’re into, then the film won’t convince you.