Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor have been making movies of substance for decades, since 1996’s Citizen Ruth. Their latest, Downsizing, about a man (Matt Damon) who decides to shrink himself to make his life easier, promises to be another entertaining and enlightening feature with socially minded subject matter. And yet again, the duo is garnering tremendous acclaim for their work.
While Payne and Taylor have seen negative reviews for writing ventures such as Jurassic Park III and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, their own movies, cowritten by both and directed by Payne (Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways), have an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 88.3%. If we include movies where Taylor is a producer but not writer (add The Descendants), it’s up to 88.4%. Payne’s whole theatrical feature directorial output, looping in Nebraska, averages 88.8%.
Currently, with six reviews included, Downsizing has a 100% score out of the gate following its Venice Film Festival debut. That brings Payne and Taylor’s collaborations to a 90.1% average and Payne overall to a 90.4%!
The comparative consensus seems to be that we’re in for a Frank Capra movie meets a live-action Pixar feature meets Avatar. Here’s some of the critical buzz from reviews and social media so far:
“The rare director who has never made a bad film, Payne has now arguably created his best one with a work that easily accommodates many moods, flavors, intentions and ambitions.” – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“The most whimsically outlandish film of Payne’s career, though that doesn’t mean it’s made with anything less than his usual highly thought-out and controlled master-craftsman bravura. Downsizing is an ingenious comedy of scale.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Alexander Payne’s miniature masterpiece…[is] a spry, nuanced, winningly digressive movie.” – Xan Brooks, The Guardian
“Payne’s Downsizing is like Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze, Mike Judge all rolled into one. Totally crazy, amusing concept that mostly works.” – Alex Billington, FirstShowing.net
“Downsizing, AKA Alexander Payne’s Avatar, AKA Honey, I Shrunk the Privilege. Swerves left every minute, destination very worth it.” – Robbie Collins, The Telegraph
“There are moments of fabulous satire.” – Brian Formo, Collider
“Downsizing is terrifying. Easy contender for best original screenplay.” – Ariston Anderson, The Hollywood Reporter
“If there’s a standout here, it’s [Hong] Chau…funny, bristly, moving and occasionally profane. As awards season kicks up, she should definitely be part of the conversation.” – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
“If Hong delivers the film’s most revelatory performance, Damon is, unshowily, just as good in his turn as the schlubby Paul.” – Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
“There’s something for everyone in Downsizing.” – Lee Marshall, Screen Daily
Downsizing also has a new teaser trailer, which you can watch below. And you can see the movie when it opens in limited release on December 22.