A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Talks quite a bit about the way humans abuse our planet, consuming too many natural resources and leaving too much waste -- which is certainly worth discussing. But the movie takes a fairly pessimistic view, as if the problem is beyond solving.
Positive Role Models
Ngoc Lan Tran is very interesting in that she seems fairly selfless and is mainly interested in helping others. She sits with a dying old lady and brings food to the poor. But her character does exhibit some stereotypical qualities along with her better ones. Other characters seems to think mainly of themselves.
Violence & Scariness
Some blood shown during the "downsizing" process; teeth pulled. Discussion of "heads exploding" while perfecting the process. Brief altercation in a bar. Lab mice appear to be harmed during experiments. Minor characters die. Arguing. Protesting.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief full-frontal male nudity, seen mainly at a distance or in photographs. Naked male bottom seen briefly in shower. Kissing, suggested sex at wild party. Some strong sex-related talk.
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More than one use of "f--k" (several in a row in one scene), plus "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "ass," "idiot," and "Jesus," "oh my God" (as exclamations) and "hate her guts."
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Products & Purchases
Giant Absolut Vodka bottles shown. Cheesecake Factory mentioned. Coca-Cola bottle cap shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character drinks alone in despair. Social drinking -- beer, gin, etc. Use of unknown hallucinogenic drugs and pills at a wild party. Drug trip shown. Mention of "sharing needles." Cigar smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Downsizing is a sci-fi comedy about a man (Matt Damon) who undergoes an experimental process: being shrunk down to five inches tall to help save the planet. Expect to see a little blood, some fighting and arguing, and lab mice who appear to be harmed; minor characters die. Language includes several uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "a--hole," and more. There's brief male full-frontal nudity, as well as partial nudity, kissing, suggestions of sex, and strong sex talk. Characters drink socially and alone, a character smokes cigars, and characters take unknown pills and hallucinogenic drugs at a party (a "drug trip" is shown). An Asian character is very giving and helpful but is also portrayed in a way that veers close to stereotype. Even though the movie is from acclaimed director Alexander Payne, it's too long, not very funny, extremely preachy, and awfully downbeat. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Coming from acclaimed director Alexander Payne, this sci-fi comedy is an oddity: an overlong, over-written, message-heavy misfire that's almost totally unlike anything else he's ever done. Downsizing takes forever to get started and explain the painful shrinking process -- it requires pulling out all of a person's teeth -- before going on too many detours until it finally reaches its ultimate point. Which is that humans are destroying our own planet. Normally in sci-fi or comedy, messages like that are carefully presented as subtle subtext. But this movie simply slaps our faces with it.
The screenplay almost feels as if nothing from any early drafts was ever thrown away, as if new scenes were simply tacked onto old ones. It does allow for a fun performance by Waltz and a tricky one by Hong Chau, but the movie doesn't seem as interested in characters or story as it is in messages, and it doesn't support the characters as well as it should. (Despite having a fairly large role, Wiig disappears early on and never returns.) It seems as if a fine multi-episode miniseries could have been made out of this material, or a much shorter movie, but as it is, Downsizing feels flabby and overstuffed; it could have used its own shrink ray.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.