I picked up a movie rental this weekend. An actual DVD. Out of a Redbox.
I had a coupon.
The movie was Downsizing, starring Matt Damon.
The previews had intrigued me when the movie was released, but I was actually quite surprised at the content, because it wasn’t at all what I expected.
I think my overall expectation was something akin to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. But this was not that. It was something entirely different, unexpected, and…..deep.
Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) just wants a different life – a better life – and he has an underlying air of regret….”what if”, that seems to surround his character.
He doesn’t seem particularly happy, or unhappy, just one of the masses, doing the same things, day in and day out, for years.
When the prospect of “Downsizing” comes along, he seems ready to be convinced that this is his answer to an internal longing.
I won’t spoil any of the movie for you, I will only say that nothing turns out as Paul expects, proving that “small” life, is still just “life”.
The movie is long, and if you are easily distracted and very judgmental about film and its purpose as entertainment, you will not enjoy any more than maybe the first 30 minutes of this 2+ hour experience. After that, one is required to use their brain, and the film takes some introspective turns while also maintaining a level of quirkiness and humor that break up the solemnity of some of the subject matter.
Basically, what happened is this: I expected a movie about a guy who has himself shrunk so he can enjoy the rich life but he’ll end up having some type of epiphany about how life is more than “stuff”, yadda yadda yadda, bravo, Matt Damon.
And in that way, that’s exactly what I got. But it took a lot of unexpected turns along the way and was not at all what it appeared to be on the surface. Much like life.
I love movies that make me think about possibility. Obviously, “Downsizing” is science fiction, but the concept of there being more to this life than being on a treadmill of work, sleep, rinse, repeat, is a real and relatable idea that people struggle with all the time.
In the last few weeks, I have been thinking deeply about the value of life, and how often I feel trapped on the aforementioned treadmill.
I’ve been thinking about the innate desire that I’ve always had for more. Not more things so much as more meaning. More fullfillment. More depth.
And the truth is, the only thing that keeps me from obtaining those things is……myself. My choices. My decisions.
Herd mentality is hard to beat sometimes. It’s very easy to get caught in a cycle of materialism, concerned with whatever social media, political media, and advertisers think should concern us. But there are other ways, dare I say smarter ways to live.
I’m not jumping up and down about the excitement factor of this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised at where it took me intellectually.
I love that Paul went from a very “this is how it has to be” way of thinking to a “this is how is could be” mentality. He learned to roll with what life threw at him, and discovered how to treat every day as an adventure. Because it is. When you really stop to think about all of the possibilities that lie within even the seemingly (tongue in cheek) smallest experiences, life becomes richer, more unique and beautiful and exquisite than we often remember it to be.
And young or old, rich or poor, big or small, it can be that way for all of us. We just have to be willing to see the possibilities.