Norway, United States, 2017 / 136 Mins

Director: Alexander Payne

Starring: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig

With human consumption rapidly exhausting Earth's resources and nowhere else to go, Norwegian scientists perfect a radical process: miniaturization. We can now shrink human beings down to the height of a hot dog, and that one hot dog can feed a human for a week.

Welcome to the bright future of Downsizing. Alexander Payne's ingenious and delightful new film marks, on first glance, a shift from character portraits such as Sideways, About Schmidt, and The Descendants, all set firmly in our present reality. But Payne's movies have also always been social portraits, with much to say about how we live now. In Downsizing, he gives full flight both to his gift for social satire and his insight into the many small truths — in this case alarmingly small — that define us.

Matt Damon plays an agreeable everyman trying, like so many other Americans, to get by in a tough economy. For him and his wife (Kristen Wiig), life's material desires seem forever out of reach. As those around them realize that miniaturization is not just a solution to resource depletion but also a way to get rich, they begin to contemplate living in a mansion the size of a doll's house. What could go wrong?

Shot in Toronto as well as in Norway's spectacular fjords, Downsizing is a visually dazzling work of speculative fiction. Damon and Wiig (who also appear at this year's Festival in mother!) are surrounded by a cast that includes Jason Sudeikis (also at the Festival in Kodachrome), Hong Chau, and a wickedly gleeful Christoph Waltz whose character has the downsized world sussed. It's the little things that count.