Downsizing (2017 Movie)

Posted 2017/12/2260

Downsizing is a 2017 American science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne and written by Payne and Jim Taylor. The film stars Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Jason Sudeikis, and Kristen Wiig, and tells the story of a couple who undertake a procedure to shrink their bodies so they can start a new life in an experimental community. When the wife refuses the procedure at the last minute, the husband has to reassess his life and choices. Principal photography on the film began in Ontario, Canada, on April 1, 2016.

Downsizing premiered at the 74th Venice International Film Festival on August 30, 2017, and was released in the United States by Paramount Pictures on December 22, 2017. The film received praise for its cast and premise, but criticism for its execution and failure to deliver on possible ideas given the subject matter. It was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2017, while Chau earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the 75th Golden Globe Awards.

 

 

Downsizing Poster

 

 

Synopsis :

 

In the near future, Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey Safranek (Kristen Wiig) are a married couple in Omaha with financial issues. At a high school reunion, they encounter Dave (Jason Sudeikis) and Carol Johnson (Maribeth Monroe), who have “downsized,” an irreversible process invented 15 years earlier that involves shrinking humans to a height of 5 inches. While the inventors advocate that downsizing is environmentally friendly through the reduction of waste, Dave argues its benefits extend far beyond that, and improve one’s life through the increase in value of their money. Exploring the possibilities of downsizing, Paul and Audrey agree to undergo the process and move in to Leisure Town, one of the most popular communities for small individuals. After undergoing downsizing, Paul receives a call from Audrey, saying that she was unable to go through the procedure, and will be leaving him.

One year later, Paul finalizes the divorce with Audrey, and settles in to his new apartment. Although Paul had anticipated a life of relative ease, he works as a telemarketer for Lands End. While attending a birthday party, Paul has a discussion with Dave, and says that he regrets his decision to downsize. Soon after, Paul breaks up with his girlfriend, and attends a party hosted by his neighbor, Dusan (Christopher Waltz). The next morning,Paul notices that one of Dusan’s housecleaners is Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau), a Vietnamese political activist who was jailed and downsized against her will. Lan Tran was the sole survivor of a human smuggling attempt to the United States in a television box, and had her leg amputated upon arrival. Attempting to assist Lan Tran with her prosthetic leg, Paul returns to her house in the slums outside of the walls of Leisure Town. After assisting Lan Trans’s dying friend, Paul attempts to repair Lan Tran’s prosthetic leg, only to break it and make her unable to work. In return, Paul works for Lan Tran’s cleaning service, where he also assists in gathering food around to the city that Lan Tran distributes throughout the slums. Dusan attempts to release Paul from his obligation by taking him to Norway, the site of the first small community, with his friend Joris Konrad (Udo Kier), but Lan Tran argues to come along. Lan Tran had received international attention after her arrival in the United States, including personal correspondence from the inventor of downsizing, Dr. Jørgen Asbjørnsen (Rolf Lassgård), who had previously invited her to Norway.

While traveling in a fjord, Paul’s boat encounter Dr. Asbjørnsen and his wife, Anne-Helene (Ingjerd Egeberg). Dr. Asbjørnsen announces that humanity is doomed, as the positive feedback of Arctic methane emissions is unable to be stopped, and will result in the eventual extinction of the human race. Arriving in the first colony, Paul is shown that Dr. Asbjørnsen planned for such a contingency with the creation of a large vault inside a mountain to insulate the colony and preserve humanity in the event of an extinction. Paul is excited to enter the vault, and asks Lan Tran to join him. She rejects his offer, saying that he does not need to enter the vault, and can do good in their community by returning. Paul enters the vault, but changes his mind and leaves as the door is closing, chosing to return with Lan Tran, Dusan, and Konrad. Having returned to Leisure Town, Paul assists Lan Tran in her duties of provided needed aid and supplies to the people of the slums.

 

Cast

  • Matt Damon as Paul Safranek, a bored office worker who signs up for the “downsizing” program.
  • Christoph Waltz as Dusan Mirkovic, an aging partyboy.
  • Hong Chau as Ngoc Lan Tran, a Vietnamese activist shrunk against her will by the government.
  • Kristen Wiig as Audrey Safranek, Paul’s wife, whom he divorces due to her decision to not complete the “downsizing” phase.
  • Jason Sudeikis as Dave Johnson, Carol’s husband, an old high school friend of Paul and Audrey
  • Maribeth Monroe as Carol Johnson, Dave’s wife, an old high school friend of Paul and Audrey
  • Udo Kier as Joris Konrad, an aging partyboy and Dusan’s companion.
  • Rolf Lassgård as Dr. Jørgen Asbjørnsen, Anne-Helene’s husband, inventor of the downsizing procedure.
  • Ingjerd Egeberg as Anne-Helene Asbjørnsen, Jørgen’s wife.
  • Søren Pilmark as Dr. Andreas Jacobsen
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