Downsizing (15)



Comedy (2017)
135mins US

Starring: Hong Chau, Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig
Director: Alexander Payne
Writer(s): Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

In a near future, socially conscious citizens in an overcrowded world shrink their bodies to just five inches tall in order to live out their final years in picture perfect miniaturised communities, which are less of a strain on the Earth's dwindling resources. Paul Safranek and his wife Audrey are persuaded to undergo the downsizing procedure by former college classmates Dave and Carol Johnson, who claim the decision to shrink was the best they ever made.

Seen that movie? Leave a comment / review here >>

LondonNet Film Review
Downsizing (15)

Small is beautiful - and highly desirable - in director Alexander Payne's quirky comedy drama set in the near future, when socially-conscious citizens in our overcrowded world undergo cellular reduction to shrink their bodies. Volunteers live in picture-perfect micro-communities, which are less of a drain on the Earth's dwindling resources and far cheaper to maintain. A blue-collar worker's wage comfortably buys a palatial abode in a downsized neighbourhood. You can have it all when you're 12cm (4.7in) tall. ...

Downsizing. Copyright: 2017 Paramount Pictures. Caption: Matt Damon as Paul Safranek and Jason Sudeikis as Dave Johnson in Downsizing, directed by Alexander Payne. Photo: George Kraychyk. All Rights Reserved.The gung-ho miniaturised American dream turns sour in Payne's film, co-written by Jim Taylor, which chronicles the intolerable strain that downsizing places on one fractured marriage. Wit and invention are in thrilling abundance in an assured opening 30 minutes, augmented with slick digital effects that juxtapose the everyday and shrunken worlds. Unfortunately, the script's volatile cocktail of genres - dystopian social satire, humane drama, doomed romance - congeals before the film has concluded its laboured second hour.

Dr Jorgen Asbjornsen (Rolf Lassgard) and a team of Norwegian scientists dazzle the world with the results of their downsizing experiment. The irreversible procedure impresses Omaha-based occupational therapist Paul Safranek (Matt Damon). "Biggest thing since landing on the moon. Bigger!" he gushes to his sceptical mother (Jayne Houdyshell). At a high school reunion, Paul and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) meet miniaturised former classmates Dave and Carol Johnson (Jason Sudeikis, Maribeth Monroe), who are effusive about their decision to shrink. The Safraneks agree they need a radical change in circumstances to reinvigorate their stagnant marriage. During transition surgery, Audrey gets cold feet and Paul becomes a heartbroken, lonely bachelor in the tiny community of Leisureland. One year later, the Safraneks are divorced and Paul trades Leisureland luxury for a single bedroom apartment in the same block as brash playboy Dusan Mirkovic (Christoph Waltz). The straight-talking hedonist introduces Paul to fun-loving pal Joris (Udo Kier) and Vietnamese cleaner Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau), a vociferous political activist with an ill-fitting prosthetic leg. She opens Paul's eyes to the intolerance and cruelty in his brave new miniaturised world.

Ironically, Downsizing comes up short. An ingenious central conceit can't stretch to 135 minutes and the emotional pay-off is ultimately unsatisfying. Damon delivers an appealing performance as a kind-hearted everyman seduced by science, but he is overshadowed by scene-stealing and sometimes garish supporting performances. Two-time Oscar winner Waltz furiously chews scenery as an ageing, foul-mouthed lothario, while Thai-born actress Chau, whose parents were Vietnamese refugees, could snag her first Oscar nomination for her eye-catching portrayal of an outspoken dissident, who was downsized against her will. The character's broken English is a high wire act, strung tightly between hilarity and racial caricature. I was charmed as Chau walked that tightrope but some audiences may feel she wobbles alarmingly and tumbles off.

- Sam Cannon

Downsizing. Copyright: 2017 Paramount Pictures. Caption: Matt Damon as Paul Safranek and Jason Sudeikis as Dave Johnson in Downsizing, directed by Alexander Payne. Photo: George Kraychyk. All Rights Reserved.


London Cinemas

From Friday 15th June
To Thursday 21st June

Not showing at any
London cinemas this week.
From Friday 22nd June
To Thursday 28th June

Not showing at any
London cinemas this week.


« Back to Index

Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.



« Back to Index