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Small change

Downsized characters take to the big screen

We receive the message that the more we have, the happier we'll be

OVERPOPULATION is ‘humanity’s greatest problem’ and scientists in Norway have discovered the ‘only practical remedy’ – cellular miniaturisation or ‘downsizing’. In the film Downsizing, released next Wednesday (24 January), scientists believe that shrinking humans to a fraction of their size will reduce the effects of climate change. Humans will consume less of the earth’s natural resources, produce less waste and occupy less space – saving the human race and the planet.

Fast-forward ten years and downsizing has gained popularity. At a high-school reunion in Omaha, Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) learn that their old friend Dave Johnson (Jason Sudeikis) and his wife Carol (Maribeth Monroe) ‘got small’ and seem to be happier than ever.

When Dave is congratulated by Paul for doing his part to save the planet, he replies: ‘Downsizing is about saving yourself.’ Having fallen into serious debt through gambling, Dave saw his downsizing experience as an opportunity to hit the reset button and start again. ‘It takes the money pressure right off, and you can live like kings,’ he says.

When Paul and Audrey’s mortgage application for a new house falls through, the temptation to shrink themselves becomes stronger. The suburban couple learn that if they were to become five-inch humans, their $100,000 would equate to $12.5 million in a downsized community. Small wonder then that they sign up, hoping to start living the life of their dreams.

A year later Paul realises that not a lot has changed. The small communities still face inequality, injustice, exploitation and corruption. There is still heartache, disappointment and a lack of fulfilment. Becoming small allows Paul to see the bigger picture, that humanity’s problems are deeply rooted. Having more will never be enough.

In our world, small and big screens are filled with advertisements and programmes that send us the message that the more we have, the happier we’ll be. They tell us that success is based on the size of our social media following or the number of cars we have.

We sometimes go to great lengths to achieve the perceived success of having more. Sometimes we may even be tempted to do the wrong thing so that we can have what we are told will make us happy. But when we buy into this idea, we find that it falls short.

The good news is there is a way that we can live a larger life without downsizing or upsizing. We can find it in Jesus, who said he came into the world so that people ‘can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of’ (John 10:10 The Message).

When we say yes to following Jesus, we can have true success: forgiveness for the things we have done wrong, help to live right, more love, deeper joy and a greater sense of peace.

How’s that for size?

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