A new world of possibilities awaits, thanks to a revolutionary medical procedure known as Downsizing. Billed as environmentally-friendly, many people choose to downsize for economic benefits. When the kindly occupational therapist, Paul, undergoes the new procedure, finding himself in this brand-new existence, he must choose between a sheltered life or making an impact in his own small way. Can he help save the planet and afford a nice lifestyle at the same time?
After Paul is downsized, the camera perspective switches to being from the point-of-view of a shrunk person, yet the clouds in the sky are relative in size to a full-sized person. At this size, a single cloud should cover the entire neighborhood, yet in numerous scenes many small clouds fill the sky. See more »
I feel almost alone in the world in liking this satirical sci-fi comedy-drama
When Norwegian scientists develop a means to shrink living things down to miniature size, with the average human standing only 5 inches tall, the world sees it as great new opportunity. "Downsized" people use less resources, take up less space, and have a smaller impact on the environment. As an added bonus, their "full-size" bank accounts translate to vastly more wealth at smaller size, since less material is needed to build dream mansions or create fabulous jewelry. Within a decade, "downsized" towns are springing up around the world, and middle-class Nebraskans Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey (Kristen Wiig) make the decision to join the "little people". However, when complications ensue, Paul finds his worldview shattered, and he's left looking for new direction in his life.
Director Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways, The Descendants, Nebraska) has a knack for character and the human condition. This movie, easily his biggest budgeted effort due to the special effects involved, loses a little of that thanks to the film's ambitions and the overreaching scope of the story. Payne seems to making some points about the lengths people will go to in hopes of achieving the upper class dream of many Americans, with the big house and country club aesthetics. Payne also spends time on the danger of climate change, and the last section of the film takes this to apocalyptic levels. Whether he's exaggerating for effect, comic or otherwise, he doesn't make clear, but it's also possible that he's being sincere in his fears. Damon serves his purpose well, as he's called on mainly to be a blank slate, a rather empty man looking for meaning in the world.
The stand-out performances are from Christopher Waltz as Damon's obnoxious neighbor, and especially Hong Chau as a one-legged Vietnamese former political dissident turned janitorial worker. She's phenomenal, and should have nabbed a supporting Oscar nomination. The movie was a flop with both critics and the box office, but I liked it, and continue to look forward to Payne's work.
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