Starring Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig, Udo Kier, Jason Sudeikis, Margo Martindale, Niecy Nash, James Van Der Beek, Niel Patrick Harris, Laura Dern
Imaginative. Thoughtful. Incomplete.
Paul Safranek: If I don’t do this, who am I? I mean, really. Who am I?
Ngoc Lan Tran: You Paul Safranek. You good man!
Imagine if we had the technology and the science to shrink ourselves down to about 5 inches. Downsizing imagines us doing this for reasons of economy (each dollar would go an awful lot farther) and reasons of preservation (it creates space and fights overpopulation) only in the world of this movie, it’s optional. Paul Safranek (Damon) decides to do it because he believes it will be good for his marriage; alleviate some of their financial stress and allow him and his wife, Audrey (Wiig), to spend more time together. However, on the day, Paul goes through the elaborate procedure only to find out that his wife backed out at the last minute. Not knowing what to do with himself in the aftermath, he meets and falls in love with a blunt Vietnamese woman, Ngoc Lan Tran (Chau), made a refugee by the downsizing process performed against her will. There are so many ideas and possibilities with this material which is part of what draws me to Downsizing and ultimately what I think leaves it unsatisfactory. Alexander Payne’s world-building is impressive and compelling but he might have been better off making a television series out of it, allowing him to expand and flesh out every stray idea he has. Within the confines of this film, it’s too much. Downsizing goes in too many directions, teases more than it can deliver on, and ends rather limply in my opinion. That being said, it’s interesting and enough fun while it lasts to be worth seeing.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-