Movie Views: Lessons from DOWNSIZING

Movie Views: Lessons from DOWNSIZING

Recently, I saw the film #DOWNSIZING with Matt Damon, Kristin Wiig and Christoph Waltz. I enjoyed the film immensely. The scope of the film and its tone blending comedy and drama in an offbeat and thoughtful way, had me mesmerized from the first thirty minutes. The cinematography, exuberance and attention to detail captivated me much the same way THE TRUMAN SHOW did 20 years earlier. This is a world we can imagine as possible, and like Jim Carrey in TRUMAN, Damon does a remarkable job making us believe and maybe, even want to join him.



I was surprised how quickly I was sold on the film’s general premise – a concept in which the prospect of doing good for the world and thus, feeling good about ourselves is marketed as an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint on the planet. The attraction to that prospect is simple. If you’re an idealist, you are embracing your principles and living them fully. If you’re struggling financially and working paycheck to paycheck, the notion of making your money stretch far further than you could ever hope for on the path you walk is enticing. And if you’ve lost direction, purpose or connection with the world and others, why not ‘downsize’ and start over again? Who wouldn’t embrace a second chance at life in those circumstances?


When is the last time you examined your own path and the direction you’re headed? I love movies that make me step back afterward and contemplate, and following much discussion about the film itself — favorite parts, lingering questions, outstanding performances — the message of the film stayed with me. I enjoyed the way the film transported us to a faraway place that we quickly saw is not all that far away. Even in the most lush utopia, the injustices and inequities of a world built on class and division manage to parcel out the haves and have-nots to their respective places, and it is a harsh reality told in the gentlest and most charming way.


Despite the film offering some strong messages, I really appreciated the direction its creators did not go. So many future-set films have a madman scheme driving the operation. For once, we watched an enterprise with good intentions go about its work not for some maniacal plot to take over the world or destroy a set of people. DOWNSIZING is not a ‘WestWorld’ like vision but instead a well-intentioned plan, and like all things, left in the hands of human beings, well, you just never know what good (or bad) can come of it.


Actress Hong Chau and Rolf Lassgard are each a profound presence on the screen and deliver memorable, supporting actor-caliber performances (even though the always reliably good Waltz is likely to get yet another nod instead).  If you’re looking for something to capture your imagination and take you somewhere unique and intriguing, this one’s worth the price of admission. Check it out! Thanks for reading. ~ Chris K.


On a scale of 0-100, I give DOWNSIZING a 91.



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