RELEASE DATE: February 14, 2020
MPAA RATING: R (language and some sexual material)
Downhill is described as a comedy/drama, but there is much more drama in this offering than comedy. That fact is likely to disappoint moviegoers who expect to enjoy some belly laughs resulting from a film that features comedic heavyweights Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Will Ferrell.
Inspired by the 2014 French/Swedish film Force Maijeure, Downhill aptly describes the direction of a married couple’s relationship in the wake of experiencing a traumatic avalanche while on a ski vacation with their two sons in the Alps.
While I’ve described some films as not being able to decide what it wants to be, Downhill is a film likely to be one quite different from what moviegoers hoped it would be. That’s a shame, because many scenes and character interactions are compelling, and Louis-Dreyfus delivers an impressive dramatic turn as Billie, the wife of Pete (Farrell) who displayed an act of cowardice at a time when the family was in peril. One memorable scene, in which Billie verbally goes off on Pete, is simply powerful and credible.
The involvement of characters such as a wild, uninhibited resort employee (Miranda Otto) and a ski instructing gigolo-type (Giulio Berruti) and their respective impact on Billie seem unnecessary, while the characters of Pete’s colleague, Zach (Zach Woods) and girlfriend Rosie (Zoe Chao) are important to provide some context and relational juxtaposition.
No doubt Downhill will have an uphill battle delivering solid box office numbers.