Imagine a Norwegian scientist discovered a way to miniaturise people so that they were only six inches tall. Each person would eat far far less and pollute far far less. They wouldn’t even need to work for a living really, cos just one normal-sized apple could feed a town of mini-people for a week. World hunger would end and we would save the planet to boot.
That’s the premise of the extremely thought-provoking movie Downsizing, starring Matt Damon. Now imagine you were normal-sized, in a dead end job and struggling to pay your bills. You work so many hours that you only have time for fast food and you’re becoming overweight. Wouldn’t you want to completely change your life? If you were to miniaturise yourself, you would suddenly be resource-rich and time-rich. You could start spending time getting fit and developing your inner self (doing art, writing, whatever you want)! Your life would be like one of the rich and famous. You’d socialise with similar people and start partying like a celebrity.
Surely you’d want that, right? Matt Damon takes the plunge. He wants to escape his humdrum life of poverty and depression. But he arrives in the palatial village for mini-people and just doesn’t feel comfortable in his own skin. Somehow, he just can’t quite seem to fit in. It all seems too good to be true…
And of course, so it proves to be. I’m gonna avoid spoilers at this point. Suffice it to say, people don’t really manage to escape their problems and get to paradise. No. They bring their problems with them. Because people ARE the problem.
The movie Downsizing is as satirical as it is big-hearted. It has political messages, eco messages, social messages and a philosophical stance. No wonder it has divided critics so much.
Take it from me, though. You won’t watch a more interesting and potentially more provocative Hollywood movie this year. I enjoyed it immensely. Give it a try. Or end up short-changed. It scores 8.5 out of 10 from me. So there.