I watched a delightful little film this weekend, titled, Upside Down. I don’t know how wide a distribution this movie got in theatres a year or two ago, but I had only very vague memories of the reviews it got around the time of its release. So it is likely if you are reading this review, that you may never have heard of this flick. Go on a search! It is very worth your while!
Another thing which I had not known about this movie is that it is Canadian. It comes from Montreal. The director, in Special Effects commentary speaks in French, explain how this movie came to be made. And it sounds as if it was filmed almost entirely in Montreal.
The story is a very basic love story: boy from the “wrong side of the tracks” meets classy girl; they fall in love but seem destined to never be together. Everything, and everyone, are out to prevent their ever getting together. This part of the story is told gently, with a lovely air about it.
The setting is very unusual: science fiction. Sci-fi was the reason I was interested in the movie; but as it turns out, the sci-fi dimensions become secondary to the story. It is just the world they live in.
This world they live in is explained in voice-over at the beginning. There are two worlds in proximity to each other. Each has its own gravity. Whatever world you originate on, that is the world whose gravity you experience, and the other world appears “upside down”. As you can guess, the two lovers come from opposite worlds, providing numerous obstacles which must be overcome. There is quite a mystical, magical component to this, but the unimaginable improbabilities do not seem to detract from the story. They add to it, if anything. Upside Down is a modern, magical fairy tale, told with a gentle touch.
Another aspect of the movie which is there, if a bit understated, is the class/power divide on this world (or these worlds!). The two worlds evolved separately, one becoming very wealthy and successful, the other not so much. The wealthy world exploits the lower one. There is some working together, but always with the power gap very obviously in place. No one from “below” is allowed to succeed beyond certain limits. This power differential pervades every aspect of the story.
In this way the movie is a very powerful commentary on our world today. There are power-elites who control all the financial and political power structures. And don’t you dare challenge them!! And of course, the love of Adam and Eden (very interesting choices of names!) challenges them in numerous ways. Their simple idealism is a light shining out in dark hopelessness. And (spoiler alert!), as it is a fairy tale after all, love carries the day! I don’t think it will really spoil anyone’s enjoyment of this delightful tale to know that! I really do encourage anyone wanting to see an uplifting story, or anyone interested in seeing how a very fanciful, imaginative world works, check this movie out. You will not regret it!!! It is very well made. The few inconsistencies necessarily arising out of such a uniquely creative world do not detract from the story.
This movie will certainly make you think. I expect this story to be with me for a long time!