Parents' Guide to

Downsizing

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Overlong sci-fi comedy has a heavy message, mature content.

Movie R 2017 135 minutes
Downsizing Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 21 parent reviews

age 13+

I wish they cast Mark Wahlburg!

"Downsizing" is a science fiction comedy-drama film that explores the idea of shrinking human beings to reduce their carbon footprint and the consequences that come with it. While the film is filled with a great cast, I couldn't help but feel that Matt Damon's character would have been better cast as Mark Wahlburg. Don't get me wrong; Damon's acting was decent, but the role of Paul Safranek, a man who decides to downsize himself to live a better life, required someone with a bit more grit and toughness. Wahlburg's natural charisma and ability to play tough guys would have added a new dimension to the character and made him more relatable to audiences. Moreover, Wahlburg's Bostonian accent would have been a perfect fit for the character's blue-collar background, adding a layer of authenticity to his performance. I can't help but feel that Wahlburg would have brought an extra edge to the character that Damon couldn't quite achieve. Overall, "Downsizing" is an entertaining and thought-provoking film, but with a different casting choice for the lead, it could have been even better. Mark Wahlburg would have added a new layer of depth to the character, making him more relatable to audiences and adding more authenticity to the role.
age 13+

PG-13

The R rating must be for lots of penises on unconscious men undergoing downsizing process. Big deal. This is an excellent movie that smart teens will enjoy. Especially recommended to families who think persons are more important than humanity. Lots to talk about with the kids in that vein, and I wish CM review hadn’t deterred us from letting our 15-yr-old watch it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (21 ):
Kids say (13 ):

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.

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