Downsizing is an American science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne and also co-written by Payne and Jim Taylor. What an adventure Downsizing has turned out to be. This movie was so unique, I was unable to predict anything. However, this is where most of my praises end because there are a million reasons Downsizing could never happen. This movie is the fantasy of all fantasies. I think I have the most problem with 5″ people, that’s just not feasible.
In a futuristic world, Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Audrey Safranek (Matt Damon, a physical therapist and Kristen Wiig, respectively) are living in Omaha, Nebraska with financial issues. At a high-school reunion, they encounter Dave and Carol Johnson (Jason Sudeikis and Maribeth Monroe, respectively) who have gone through the process of “downsizing”. This process, which is irreversible was invented 15 years earlier and involves shrinking humans to a height of five inches. While the inventors advocate that downsizing is environmentally friendly through the reduction of waste, Dave argues that its benefits extend far beyond that and improve one’s life through the increase in value of their money. Their total assets of 125K would add up to 10 times as much as they have now or clearing 12.5M allowing them to live a very different lifestyle. Everyone the Safranek’s interviewed seemed to be happy and without any money issues. Children born to the downsized residents are born small and all body parts are in proportion. Animals are separated from the downsized by domes and hundreds of precautions are taken to protect all personnel. So needless to say, after exploring all the possibilities of downsizing, Paul and Audrey agreed to undergo the process and move to Leisureland, one of the most popular communities for downsized individuals. The procedure is turned out to be grueling and unnerving which caused one of them to back down at the last second. At this point, there’s no way to warn the other so only one ends up going through with the procedure.
Now you may think I’ve just given away this movie but I assure you, it’s only just begun. After getting over my anger at the spouse who wimped out for not jumping through hoops to let the other know of their decision, I wondered what would happen to the other since the procedure is irreversible. There must assuredly be a divorce for starters, and what about the money. How would that be allocated? Or would the other spouse have a change of heart and come on board later? Where would one find love in this small community, and if companionship couldn’t be found, what would their future look like without someone to share such a meager existence with? Choices are limited and regret began to show up rapidly.
Outside the walls of Leisureland, life was not so pretty and the ugly was about to be revealed. A savvy Vietnamese political activist, turned housecleaner named Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau), who was jailed and downsized against her will is about to change the entire flavor of Downsizing. Now I will stop here and give you an opportunity to see the movie for yourself. My 7.5 rating is only because of it’s inability to work as a workable plot, ever. Otherwise, Downsizing is a very interesting story with all the horror and suffering man is truly capable of creating. 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. Downsizing is definitely worth seeing. Check it out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged anne-helene, audrey safranek, brigette lundy-paine, christoph waltz, dave johnson, donna lynne champlin, downsizing, dr andreas jacobsen, dr jorgen asbjornsen, dusan mirkovic, eric burns, hon chau, ingjerd egeberg, james van der beek, Jason Sudeikis, joaquim de almeida, joris konrad, kristen wiig, margo martindale, maribeth monroe, matt damon, ngoc lan tran, niecy nash, paul safranek, Rolf Lassgård, soren pilmark, udo kier
Well done Stephen Hopkins, Stephan James and Jason Sudeikis. A horrible situation exquisitely acted and well told. Race issues certainly fits right in to today’s on going battles of racism, hatred and bigotry. Makes me think we’ve learned nothing in the last 80 years. It was quite interesting watching the bigotry of the Nazi regime vs the bigotry of the USA. In the end, money and power prevailed. The same as today. There are many, many lessons to be learned from a movie like Race but I fear we’ll learn what we always learn and so the beat goes on the same as it always has. There in the 1930’s we have a man, deemed as the fastest human alive, who could escalate the US to new heights in the Olympic games and we have people on both sides hating the fact that “the man” is Black. It doesn’t matter the accolades we (the US) are about to achieve, only that “the man” is Black. Against all odds, we put him in the race but the country holding the games is worse than we are. They hate Blacks but even more than Blacks, they hate Jews. Having to sit through this racism made me sick and angry. It made me want to jump into the screen and strangle those responsible for stirring up this bigotry. The whole thing is just so senseless and stupid. People fighting because they were born Black or Jewish. How dumb is that and what a waste of time. What is one suppose to do about who they are, as if there’s something wrong with who they are? Jesse Owens should have been able to concentrate on nothing else but winning but instead had to deal with both this own country and the country where the races were being held discriminating against him. After all was said and done, he couldn’t even get a job to support his family. Here is a man who represented his country in the 1936 Olympics and won 4 gold metals but couldn’t get a job because of his skin color. Then you’re criticized for being a lazy non-working bum. This is a bitter pill to swallow. Race really brought out how screwed up the society is and how willing we are to sweep it all under the rug. A dinner was held in Jesse’s honor but he couldn’t go in through the front of the hotel where the dinner was being held. He had to use the service entrance. It’s very hard to sit through movies that cause us to relive this part of history, especially when it’s still happening. I commend Jesse Owens for his abilities, achievements and for holding it together when most would have lost it. Watching Jesse Owen’s struggles from the onset of his career as an Olympian to his bitter sweet victory when a doorman wouldn’t allow him to come in the front entrance of a hotel where he was being honored was a reminder that there’s much work to be done. Freedom begins in your heart.
Strongly acted movie with loads of historic information surrounding the 1936 Olympics and Berlin where the games were held. The relationship between Jesse and his coach was extraordinary and the issues between the team and Jesse Owens was also very interesting. “Race” is a movie worth seeing. Performances by Jeremy Irons as Avery Brundage whose actions cost the only Jewish candidates their participation in the games and Barnaby Metschurat as the German Chancellor, Joseph Goebbels who said “do you expect Hitler to be photographed shaking hands with that” (that meaning Jesse Owens) were outstanding.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged 1936, adolf hitler, avery brundage, barnaby metschurat, berlin, german chancellor, germany, Jason Sudeikis, jeremy irons, jesse owens, joseph goebbels, olympics, race, racism, stephan james