A Brief History
On December 21, 2017, the American public awaits another hard to define movie when Downsizing opens across the country tomorrow. Called a science fiction-comedy-drama, to properly describe the film you would have to include the term “romance,” even if the plot takes a while to get there. This Paramount Pictures release starring Matt Damon has already been named by the National Board of Review as one of the Top 10 Films of 2017.
Along with the star power of Matt Damon, Downsizing also features actors you know such as Christoph Waltz and Kristen Wiig, as well as Jason Sudekis. The real star of the movie is Hong Chau, a Vietnamese American actress that has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress by the Golden Globe Awards for her role in this film.
The idea of the movie is that global over-population of people is killing the planet, forcing humanity to come up with a solution or face extinction. That solution is to “downsize” people, using a new scientific process to shrink people to about 5 inches tall. The theory is that if enough people are shrunk, the Earth’s resources will easily be able to support mankind. Whole developments are constructed to house these newly shrunk people, most of which are volunteers looking for a new life.
Damon’s character is the protagonist, chronicling his journey from large (normal) to small and the physical and psychological/emotional toll the change takes. Chau plays a Vietnamese dissident that was shrunk by her evil government as a form of punishment and to get rid of her. The two main characters make an unlikely, but serendipitous meeting in Leisureland, a small people development. After some comical adventures, the two star crossed people fall in love.
Meanwhile, other characters in the film play strong supporting roles as benevolent rich people and scientists, except Kristen Wiig who disappears after the first half or third of the film. Scenery and effects are good, acting and directing is good, though you get the feeling the plot is trying to deliver an ecology based message that colors the overall movie. Another layer of social engineering not so subtly woven into the film is that White people have it good, and people of color live in abject poverty.
Hong Chau delivers a particularly strong performance, and the audience laughed at her comical dialogue, as intended. Unfortunately, some may find her character to be somewhat stereotypically racist. If you are not overly-sensitive to stereotypical characters, you will find Chau’s character quite endearing and funny. In fact, the screening audience laughed liberally throughout the film, sometimes with great enthusiasm.
Downsizing is another 2017 hard to categorize movie, something fairly unique and different. Some may consider it something of a “chick flick,” but overall we found the film entertaining and recommend movie enthusiasts see the film.
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