Downsizing: an unexpected sci-fi drama, which made me laugh and it also made me sad

I probably only watched this pop culture movie because it popped up on Netflix and I was intrigued by the plot and because I like Matt Damon, Christopher Walz and Hong Chau.

The plot: A scientists finds a new way to address overpopulation and lower the human footprint by shrinking people to five inches tall (12,7cm).

Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to undergo the procedure and live a life of luxury in the community of Leisurland where their money is worth more. However, when Paul awakens, he learns that his wife couldn’t go through with it and finds himself alone in a strange world. He makes friends and even falls in love and at some point, has the opportunity to join a group of downsized people into a vault and survive the sixth extinction. Instead of choosing this path, Paul decides not go into the vault and chooses a life with his loved ones and helping others.

The movie is dark and funny, perhaps too long and yet I like the characters and enjoyed spending time with them. One comment about the film aligned with my feeling: “Downsizing is overlong, but the world it creates is so simultaneously fascinating and horrifying that you don’t mind spending some more time there.”

Throughout the film the end of the world the way we know it, is inevitable. The only solution at the end is going down the vault or staying with the people we love. There is a lot of humanity that shows that being human is a wonderful thing even if we messed up.

At the end of the movie Dr. Jørgen Asbjørnsen, who invented the downsizing method, refers to the polycrisis and concludes: “Not a very successful species this Homo sapiens, even with such great intelligence. Barely 200,000 years. Alligator has survived 200 million years with the brain, the size of a walnut.”

Whilst Downsizing was a box office flop, it was still chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2017. And Chau earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the 75th Golden Globe Awards.