DOWNHILL – A Review by Cynthia Flores

DOWNHILL – A Review by Cynthia Flores

The directors and co-writers of this film are better known as comedic actors. Why they decided to tackle the tremendous foreign film from 2014 Force Majeure by Ruben Ostlund is beyond me. The fact is that the foreign-language film that Downhill is based on was more a dramatic contemplation of family relationships. Any humor was subtle and came from the healing of those relationships once cowardice is found in the husband. In this English version of the story, casting fabulous comedic actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell who are not known for drama or subtle comedy was a risky choice.

Downhill tells the story of the Staunton family on a ski vacation in the Alps.  Wife Billy (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), husband Pete (Will Ferrell), and their sons Finn (Julian Grey) and Emmerson (Ammon Jacob Ford) stick out at the for adults lodge. After they settle in and have been on the slopes a few times, you can tell what the family dynamics are.  Both boys are closer to their involved, lawyer mom. Dad is absent and on the outside of the clan. The breaking point comes after the family barely escapes a controlled avalanche when eating lunch on the restaurant patio. Billy and Pete’s relationships are thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other.

Downhill is not as dramatic as it should be, and the humor is over the top at times. The jewel in the film, however, is Miranda Otto. She steals the film as Charlotte, the sexy, loving lodge manager who greets and befriends the Staunton couple.

I give Downhill a two-star rating.  I guess something got lost in the translation of this story from French.


Directed by: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Written by: Jesse Armstrong, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, Ruben Ostlund

Rated R

Selig Rating 2 Stars

Running Time: 1hr 26min

Drama / Comedy

Wide Release: February 14th

Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell, Miranda Otto, Zach Woods, Ammon Jacob Ford, Julian Grey


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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