Welcome to Leisureland: what life in ‘Downsizing’ is actually like

Promotional feature with Paramount

Imagine what life would be like if you were extremely tiny. No, think what it would really be like. Yes, you could ride a mouse like a horse and your window box is a jungle, but imagine how rich you’d be. Yes, rich. Vastly rich.

Downsizing, the new film from Alexander Payne, imagines a world where people can be shrunk down to a fraction of their normal size, so that they stand at just five inches. Not for the fun of being small, but because in an overpopulated world the tiny person lives the best life. The smaller the stuff you need, the more stuff you can afford. And the fewer troubles you have, because you don’t need to work. In Leisureland, the world’s premier community for tiny people, the average man is a contented millionaire.

How it works

When a person makes the decision to become small, they are put through a rigorous scientific process. Their teeth are removed (so their fillings don’t make their heads explode), their entire bodies are shaved, and they’re put through a shrinking machine. They emerge at the other end about the height of a mobile phone. Because you can’t just be wandering the streets when you’re a squishable height, the newly tiny move into communities protected from the outside elements and any animals that may try to eat them.

Where you live

Struggling to scrabble together the rent for a tiny flat on the edge of town? In Leisureland a mansion is approximately the size of a doll’s house. For a fraction of your monthly rent you could live in the kind of home you only usually see in ‘judges’ houses’ week on The X Factor.

What you can afford

Most things we buy in life cost what they do because of their size, broadly speaking. A house is more expensive than a flat. A stallion is more expensive than a Shetland pony (we imagine; never bought either). In Leisureland everything is tiny, so you can live the life of an oligarch. Caviar whenever you want. Champagne almost on tap. Truffle on everything. An entire set of diamond jewellery will set you back just over £50, because the jewels needed are miniscule. Just about anything you’d like to buy, but could never dream of affording, is within your grasp.

How you travel

Never flown first class? Tiny people only travel first class, because the space they require is roughly the area you need to put your drink. Every airline seat is expansively luxurious. Every bus ride gives you room to stretch out, rather than cramming you into a stranger’s armpit. If for any reason you need to go to the full-size world, you can travel in a comfortable, portable living room/carry case. If you’d like to move your boat/car/private plane to another distant location, just whack it in the post.

What you’ll do

Just about anything you like. If you’ve amassed any savings, even a modest pot, you’ll probably never have to work again. You could learn a language, travel the world, get really into yoga, or dedicate your life to helping others. Every day is yours. When you’re tiny, the options open to you are enormous. You can do anything your microscopic heart desires.

Downsizing is in cinemas on January 24