Matt Damon Shrinks Himself to Fight Climate Change in the 'Downsizing' Trailer

Alexander Payne's latest film offers a simple solution to global warming: miniaturizing ourselves.
August 30, 2017, 4:54pm

Venice is on track to get swallowed up by the sea within a century, the Great Barrier Reef is dying, and 2016 was confirmed as the hottest year on record—all thanks in part to global warming. While the world grapples with how to effectively combat climate change, the new trailer for Alexander Payne's film Downsizing hypothesizes a simple solution: Why don't we just shrink ourselves?

Paramount dropped the trailer for Downsizing Wednesday, introducing us to the cast of characters living in a not-too distant future plagued by the same climate crisis that haunts us today. But in Payne's world, a group of scientists in Norway have just perfected a procedure to shrink humans into tiny, six-inch versions of themselves, seriously reducing their environmental footprint. Plus, selling off all their now-massive assets leaves the munchkins with a horde of cash for their minute, inexpensive homes and possessions. Becoming little, effectively, means becoming a millionaire.

The idea grows increasingly appealing to occupational therapist Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig), and—after some prodding by shrink-yourself marketers played by Neil Patrick Harris and Laura Dern—the couple decides to go for it. Aside from feeling better about his impact on the planet, Paul is stoked to see his dwindling fortune of $152,000 transformed into $12 million, according to the Guardian. But turning into a real-life Bitmoji doesn't necessarily make Paul and Audrey's lives any easier. Knowing the process is irreversible, they scramble to come to grips with the massive—er, minuscule?—decision they've just made.

The trailer introduces us to the world Paul and Audrey occupy, along with a few of their thimble-sized neighbors: a philosophical hippie played by Christoph Waltz, a former prisoner from Vietnam played by Hong Chau, and an old high school buddy played by Jason Sudeikis.

According to Variety's review, Payne—who directed Sideways, Nebraska, and About Schmidt—brings the same deft touch to Downsizing that he did to his old hits: mixing social satire, giddy humor, and a dark vision of reality to make a film easy to laugh at and seriously disconcerting, all at the same time.

You can catch Downsizing in theaters when it premieres December 22.