The documentary A Small Good Thing is named after an award winning short story written by Raymond Carver. At the center of the story is a message of the healing power of community. In the same vein, the documentary centers around 6 people who have chosen to find happiness by focusing on family and community.
The problem with today’s world is that it’s so convenient and we have everything at our fingertips, but that doesn’t equate to happiness. You can’t be truly fulfilled if you don’t have to work for anything. And what are we doing with all that time freed up by so much convenience? Browsing social media and watching Netflix, mostly.
Collectively, we also believe that happiness = success = money. We have a lot of material wealth but we also have the highest rates of mental illness and depression ever recorded. We aren’t happy and we aren’t connected with one another. We feel alienated and alone. Studies show that once a person reaches the $75,000 mark in terms of yearly salary, anything above that makes zero difference in happiness.
The material growth we’ve been pursuing is not reliable and it’s destroying our planet, literally and figuratively. So how can we live in a better way? A Small Good Thing follows 6 people in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts who are trying to live according to this philosophy. There’s a yoga instructor, dance teacher, college student, produce farmers, and a livestock farmer. What did they discover by simplifying their lives and taking a more holistic approach to happiness? You’ll have to watch it yourself to hear their answers. But here are some interesting and important ideas that I took away from the film…