Downsizing, the new film from Sideways and Nebraska director Alexander Payne, hinges on a premise straight out of a ’50s B-movie: What if there was a way to shrink people down to miniature size? But Honey, I Shrunk The Kids this is not: In the film, shrinking yourself is portrayed as a responsible, adult choice, easy on your wallet (it’s easier to afford a big house if that house is Barbie-sized) and on the environment (tiny people also make smaller waste). But the procedure is also irreversible, so if you get tired of being tiny, well, that’s just too bad.
Downsizing just premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where Variety called it “an outrageously matter-of-fact science-fiction fairy tale—a kind of live-action Pixar movie on acid.” Matt Damon stars as a newly tiny man, along with Kristen Wiig as his tiny materialistic wife, Christoph Waltz as their tiny swinger neighbor, and Gong Jiang as a tiny Vietnamese prison escapee who lives on the wrong side of the tiny tracks.
Downsizing plays next at the Toronto International Film Festival, where our critics A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky will be on the scene. The rest of us can see it when it opens in theaters on December 22.