Downsizing (2017) Poster


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At Your Own Peril
borromeot2 December 2017
I'm a die hard fan of Alexander Payne I've been waiting for Downsizing with childish anticipation. The first few minutes of the film I felt at home. Matt Damon's wardrobe alone told me I was in male Payne territory. Matthew Broderick in Election, Paul Giamatti in Sideways - ordinary to the point of being invisible and then, the downsizing, No idea where the story goes from here and neither does Mr. Payne. There is something of John Frankenheimer's Seconds, although, clearly, that's not Downsizing's intention. No, what is Downsizing about? I never ask myself that questions because I usually don't have to, but I have to now. I have no idea if it was an an allegorical piece too clever for me or was it that the great Alexander Payne was venturing into virgin territory with one of his old invisible characters as a guide. Without having everything quite figured out. Hong Chau is lovely but was she suppose to be comic relief, tears and all? I couldn't tell and yet, I was transported and intrigued and at a certain point I was moved even if, I couldn't quite believe in the whole thing. So, go, at your own peril.
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This is one troubled film
tdrish11 December 2017
First off, let me say this right off the bat: If you're going into this, because you were enticed by the trailers just like I was, let me save you a little bit of time. If you've seen the trailers, you've seen the whole movie. I am not joking. There is one, seemingly hidden thread that ties all this schlock together, and that's not until the end of the film. From there, you are walking out of the theatre, wondering what the hell you have just watched. For me, this was beyond disappointing. I actually walked away from the theatre, feeling wrong for merely existing! So rest assured, if anything exists in this film, it has the emotional factor. I'll give it that! It also has heart. Unfortunately, what it does not have, is SUBSTANCE! Not enough, little too none, material to justify this being a movie, much less a film running close to damn near two and a half hours! The first 20 minutes was good, I was intrigued, I was even smiling. It brought a feel good, round and about, pleasant atmosphere to it all. From the half hour mark, I was struggling to keep myself awake. 45 minutes in, I was literally seeing two screens, two Matt Damons....Christ, this is putting me to sleep, but I may as well see how all this ends. And the ending? Forget it! Downsized is a thinking movie, but its as if they want you to view it from their point of view, not your own. Hey, I can think for myself, and walking away from this just gave me 100's of more questions that need to be answered. Downsized is a mess. It's got no direction, story goes nowhere, its clearly unbalanced, and it tries way too hard to justify itself with its preachy nonsense. Yes! Plot is traded in for a whole lot of talking. You ready? I wasn't, either. Bottom line: Pass it up! I can think to myself too...this is Honey I Shrunk The Kids for adults. Speaking of which, I can ask myself just as many questions about this movie, as I can about that one: Why wasn't the dad arrested on child endangerment charges, for being a dumb ball? 4.3 stars, but since I am such a great guy, I'll round it to 5. And if anything needs downsizing, it's all these lame, dumb movies being released.
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A Brilliant Concept With Mediocre Execution
KJ Proulx25 September 2017
From Sideways, to Nebraska, to The Descendants, and even Paris je t'aime, I've pretty much loved everything that I've seen from director Alexander Payne, therefore making Downsizing one of my most anticipated films of 2017 by far. Not having heard much about this film aside from its concept, I went into this film fairly cold. Sadly, this film doesn't have a whole lot more offer than its brilliant concept and exceptional first act. I must admit that I left this film feeling disappointed, thinking they could've made this a better film in many ways. When a film has so much promise and doesn't exactly deliver on much of it, I feel as though many people would be let down by that. Here is why I believe everyone should see Downsizing, despite it being slightly too mediocre as a final product.

In this dramedy, which also in part a social satire of its own genre, Downsizing follows a couple who believes their lives would be better if they were to shrink themselves and be transferred to a new world called Leisureland. This place exists to conserve the Earth and save the environment, by these shrunken people needed much less resources. With multiple meanings to the title, this is a concept that sounds incredible on paper, but doesn't exactly translate into that great of a movie. Throughout the first act, I found myself immersed in this world and couldn't wait to be taken on its journey, but I soon found myself losing interest when political and religious elements began to takeover. This is a movie that could've done so much more with its premise.

Without giving anything away, there are many characters that come in and out of this film in a heartbeat, pretty much leaving them in the dust, when in reality they were actually interesting and added a layer to the overall story. It felt as though Alexander Payne wanted to focus so much on the idea of the Downsizing concept, that he sidelined quite a few characters along the way. His films have always been about characters, and while Paul (Matt Damon) and Ngoc (Hong Chau) share some great chemistry throughout this film, it's hard not to wish that all of the characters throughout the first act were present throughout the entire film. This was a very curious issue I had while watching and definitely upon reflection.

As soon as you're brought into this other world that has been built for those who shrunk themselves over the years, you will find yourself kind of transfixed at how interesting the visuals are and how well the comedic aspects come into play, but what you don't expect is for the film to take a dramatic turn and really have you thinking hard about the world we live in and whether or not certain lines of dialogue are true about society in general. This is an eye-opening film in that regard and the third act is incredibly ambitious, but I just don't think really sticks the landing that it strives to achieve.

In the end, this is one of the most original ideas I can recall in recent memory, but an idea doesn't make a film great. It's the film itself that needs to win you over as a whole, and Downsizing just didn't do that for me. On many accounts, this is a very impressive movie from a technical standpoint and it takes risks that I didn't expect it it, but the risks it takes will only work for a few audiences members that can relate to it. This is a movie that promises a lot and tries to deliver on all of those promises, while also shoving in side plots that make this film too emotionally complex to really be invested in the satirical aspects by the end. I wish this film went through a few more rewrites, because there is a satirical masterpiece of a movie in here somewhere, but it's just not the product that you'll be seeing in theatres soon. Downsizing is worth your time in terms of originality, but I wouldn't get your hopes up on it being a favourite of yours.
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Alexander Payne back to his best: social satire
vinicius_coutinho22 October 2017
I use to love Alexander Payne's movies (maybe except by About Schmidt), mainly because they are acid in their critics or because they are touching, but what is common to all of them is the great sense of humor. In this movie, Payne goes back to to the social satire that worked so well on his earlier movies (mainly in Election), but here, he expands the scope of his criticism from the American way of life to environment, passing through immigration, consumerism, among other themes.

Trying to solve the overpopulation issue, a group of Norwegian scientists creates a way to shrink people to 13 centimeters in order to reduce the consume and the environmental impact that mankind is generating on Earth. ​In front of promise of better life, Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig), an average couple, decide to leave behind their stressful life in Omaha and to be shrunk in order to live in miniature community and at the same time being able to have the glamorous life they could never afford in "real size world". I must confess that this plot hasn't attracted me at first and if this story was conducted by a less experienced or talented director this might have been a huge disaster.

The environmental matter that was supposed to be the main goal of shrink process is soon misrepresented and begins to be used as by average people, whom not having great expectations in real life see in this process a way to achieve their consumerism goals and finally being able to obtain all the material goods they couldn't before (this is due to the fact that their money is multiplied thousands times at the miniature communities). The movie provokes rich debates on where we are heading to as society and if there would be still hope on human being, since it appears that no matter how, we are still trying to take advantage on others.
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Funniest Film at this years Tiff
michaeljtrubic21 September 2017
LOL with a thousand people is the best way to see a film like this.

Starts with an incredible series of humorous scenes one after another.

Serious issues are also addressed giving it scope and depth as well as laughs.

Christoph Waltz as always plays a fantastically eccentric character, Matt Damon as always is OK, but who really steals the show here is a new Vietnamese actress who is amazing.

She is a Gem. In a jewel of a role.

Look for a best supporting Oscar nod for her.

She has the cleverest character and the wittiest dialog in the whole film. She shines radiantly.

Lots of fun for everyone.

Brought back memories of a laugh a minute "Lars and the Real Girl" a few years back at Tiff.
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An uplifting and funny shrinking movie about our flawed society.
GODZILLA_Alpha_Predator17 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is probably one of the most original movies I have seen in years. Director Alexander Payne and writer Jim Taylor have taken something so straightforward with the idea of shrinking and brought a thought provoking and satirical spin to it. This film tackles political ideas you wouldn't expect like the environment, immigration and the class system. In the near future, Norwegian scientists have figured out a solution to help the planet sustain itself from overpopulation. The answer: Literally make the population smaller. Years after the process called Downsizing became available to the public, people have been getting themselves shrunk and living the tiny communities built for them. Here Payne and Taylor use this concept to explore the economic and political ramifications as the people and governments abuse the technology to avoid the world's problems rather then taking a part to fix it. Average middle-class citizens are getting themselves shrunk not to help the environment but rather as an excuse to live like royalty in downsized communities like Leisureland since their credit will be worth way more at 5-inches tall. As news report talk about the fear of shrunken terrorists sneaking past borders, governments in other countries use downsizing to oppress the people by shrinking human right groups so their voices will go unheard.

Looking through the story is Paul Safranek, played by Matt Damon. Damon brings a lovable charm and wit to Paul who represents the middleman that dreams of something greater. When Paul gets the chance to start over thanks to downsizing, this doesn't go as well as he planned. His wife Audrey abandons him before she can get downsized, he ends up working in a mediocre job in Leisureland and begins to see how flawed and unfair the world really. The real standout of this movie though is Hong Chau. While Damon's Paul represents the average American citizen, Chau's Ngoc Lan stands as voice of the lower class. As an activist that argued against her Vietnamese government's inhuman ways, she was sent to prison, lost a leg and later downsized to no longer be a bother to the system. Chau brings what could have been a one-dimensional stereotype an amazing sense of humour, and emotional complexity. When Paul begins to look at Leisureland's flawed class system through her eyes, it takes these characters on a huge life-altering journey. Also we finally get to see Christoph Waltz have a fun and memorable as Paul's rich, contraband-dealing neighbour Dusan.

Payne and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael use scale to create stunning and hilarious shots. When we start with Paul at normal height, the shots are wide and open with negative space. Once we enter Leisureland, the shots and sets become more compact to make you feel the change in size. Payne definitely takes advantage of this being shrinking movie to bring so many hilarious visual gags from having a giant rose sitting on a dinner table to beautifully directing the funny sequence of Paul's downsizing procedure.

The movie however struggles a bit with the narrative. It moves from one kind of story to another as it is tackling so much political subject matter. It did feel like it was different scripts that the crew worked on before combining them all into one. Kristen Wiig as Paul's wife Audrey felt like the cast member most affected by the in-balanced plot structure, as her screen-time was so short in comparison to the movie's run-time. The third act does become a little heavy-handed about global warming leading to a bit of bleak tone.

But the movie in the end redeems itself when it cuts back to Paul's character growth. Despite some narrative issues, Payne doesn't loose sight of Downsizing's uplifting message: No matter how small we are or how large our problems will get and whether it is the fear of our crumbling society, a dying Earth or death itself, the solution is to face it not avoid it.
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Great film, do not watch the previews
filmjunkie12 November 2017
I watched this film without knowing anything about it. It was fantastic.

If I would have watched the previews I would have seen all the plot points and it would have killed many of the jokes and the tender moments. I've said too much already. See this film and don't know a thing about it. It's a work of art.
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Size actually matters!
FilmFlowCritics21 November 2017
So here we are, overpopulation of planet earth has come so far, that we found a new solution to it all. 28 years after "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" we have our next adventure with miniature people, this time we won't only shrink the kids though, we are going global!

I have to say, the cast is extraordinary! My favorite performance in this movie didn't come from Matt Damon though, or Christoph Waltz, Neil Patrick Harris, Udo Kier, Kristn Wiig or Rolf Lassgård. The star of the movie is Hong Chau. She will annoy you and make you laugh at the same time and she gets better and better the longer this movie goes, which is btw around 20mins to long.

The rating of this film actually depends strongly on if you want to see it as a light hearted comedy, or a social satire. As a satire, it would fail, as all the meaning of this gets lost in kind of lame jokes. IF you want to considers this a light comedy though, fair enough, switch of your brain and enjoy the fun in this SciFi Comedy. I think this is not what the director intended us to do, but it just happens. Of course you think about "What would I do", but sooner or later, you will be a bit bugged by the inconsistency of the film logic and the story telling process, so you are better off, not using your brain to much.

If you are looking for a light hearted comedy this Christmas, feel free to check Downsizing out. It won't thrill the critics to much, but it will do well at the box office! Christoph Waltz alone brings a smile to your face again and of course, Hong Chau!!!
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