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Matt Damon realises his life would be better were he to shrink himself in this social satire co-written and directed by two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Alexander Payne (Nebraska).
Downsizing imagines what might happen if, as a solution to over-population, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small. People soon realise how much further money goes in a miniaturised world, and with the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.
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- Alexander Payne('Nebraska', 'Sideways', 'About Schmidt')
Rating: M Drug use, offensive language & nudity
Oscar winner Alexander Payne’s eco-comedy has a great sci-fi concept that provokes immediate thoughts about waste management, the current state of climate change, and the human race’s own (in)ability to change. The first half hour of Downsizing does a sterling job building this near-future world where shrinking the population is not only possible, it’s beneficial to the environment AND your bank account. After that, however, the story becomes more and more like Matt Damon’s character – confused and aimless.
Damon plays Struggling Middle-Class White Man™ Paul who downsizes to avoid the financial weight pressuring him and his wife (Kristen Wiig). However, this tiny American Dream turns into a little limbo when things don’t work out as he planned. It’s only when he meets carefree party animal Dusan (Christoph Waltz in a refreshingly un-Christoph-Waltz role) and Vietnamese humanitarian renegade Ngoc (Hong Chau) that he starts to realise the world’s bullshit cannot simply be shrunk.
Chau’s first appearance may ring Asian Stereotype Alert with her character’s thick accent and housekeeping attire, but Ngoc turns out to be the deepest person in the entire film. Her backstory is tragic, she is properly motivated, and her apathy to Paul’s First World Problems is constantly amusing. Ngoc knows the class struggle hasn’t gone away, doing what needs to be done instead of feeling sorry for herself.
So it’s a damn shame she takes a bit of a backseat in the third act, along with nearly everything else. The plot takes a sharp left turn to becoming almost an entirely different film – one that seems indifferent to the film’s primary concept. Throw in an unconvincing romance with an unsatisfying conclusion and you’ve got a disappointing film made watchable thanks to solid performances and some constantly polite chuckles.
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Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)
Another film that I feel has gotten a bad rap, possibly because it doesn't fit squarely into a genre. A quirky (sci-fi) dramedy with an absurd yet oddly believable premise that surprises! Initially it seems like a typical mopey middle-age crisis drama ... but the introduction of new interesting characters and experiences soon takes us in unexpected directions. In my opinion, Hong Chau's character Ngoc Lan Tran steals the show. Does the narrative seem a little unfocused at times? Perhaps ... but then again, maybe we are just used to all the questions 'asked' being tied up for us in a nice little bow ... this one leaves them a bit more open-ended.
What was this?
I saw this movie at a Flicks.co.nz preview screening. I came out feeling 'well, that was different and quite weird'. For a good portion of the film, the fact that the characters are tiny is irrelevant. If you like a film where you have to think about what you're seeing and find the nuances of meaning behind the story-line, you might like this. For those who thought this would be a bit of laugh, the laughs are few and far between. It felt like this film didn't know what it was. Was it a tool for warning about global warming and climate change? Was it trying to be a comedy? Was it trying to be a situation drama? I'm still not sure.
Unguided and confused
Unfortunately this film does not know what it wants to be. It begins well for the first 15 minutes, but then deteriorates into a confused save the world film with bizarre direction, mixed with some comedy.
Unexpected plot twist lose the plot
This started out as an intriguing sci-fi idea mixed with some laugh out loud comedy but somewhere along the way turned into a statement piece about the economy and the environment and the state of mankind. The comedic moments remained although were more crude and some scenes could have been cut entirely with no loss of story. The last part of the movie is saved by some brilliant acting which is almost enough to give it 3 stars. Almost. I realised there were things I longed to see in this movie which never appeared. Looking forward to the reboot.
Not what you expect!
Interesting film with great performances by Christoph Waltz and Hong Chau. A few laughs here and there and change of direction part way through. Well worth a watch.
Very enjoyable, feel-good movie :)
My husband and I went to see Downsizing last night and really enjoyed it. Yes, it switched direction halfway through - thank goodness! That's what made this movie so quirky and interesting to watch (besides the fabulous actors throughout - Christoph Waltz - where have you been?!). This movie was heartwarming and charming. I'm so glad we ignored the reviews and didn't watch the trailer. Definitely see it if you get a chance. I can't wait to buy it on DVD and add it to our collection.
A lighthearted film that does not take itself seriously
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. A very light hearted, highly amusing and entertaining movie. if you are after something plausible and deep than you will be disappointed. whilst it did cover serious topics, it did so in a very light hearted way. Time went quickly, and I walked out with a smile on my face.
Not what I was expecting.
This was a funny "tongue in cheek" movie about some important issues surrounding Earth and all who inhabit it.
Enjoyed this movie, it was definitely not what I expected. The trailer makes you think the movie is going in one direction but the movie goes in a totally opposite direction. There were some funny bits but it just felt like it was missing something. Great to see Christoph Waltz in a comedic role instead of the usual baddie, he was great
A bit weird
It's a good film but it's also rather weird. It starts off with a direction, then gets a little bit lost, but then finds another direction and carries on. It's a good concept, downsize and help save the planet. Hong Chau and Christoph Waltz are the real highlights.