by N. Renee Brown
Basically: A husband and wife deal with the surprisingly hilarious fallout of being nearly killed in an avalanche.
In Downhill, Pete (Will Ferrell) and Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) are a middle-aged couple on vacation with their two children in the Alps. When a controlled avalanche seems to go out of control, Pete grabs his phone and runs away leaving his wife and two children behind. The vacation quickly spirals when Pete can’t accept his actions…and Billie won’t.
As each of them deals with the fallout from the near-death experience, they
must confront their feelings for one another in the face of parties, young love,
Photo: Searchlight Pictures
The acting is amazing—both Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell are engaging and hysterical. You FEEL for these people and you can easily see yourself in them. It isn’t just the stars though, every minor character is a gem. Miranda Otto steals the show as the flamboyant resort owner, Charlotte. I looked forward to her every word on screen.
And the cinematography is lovely—with the Alps as backdrop, how could it not be? Yet the camera picks up on more than just that. It dwells on Billie’s shaking hand and frown lines. It revels in the dawn on the mountains.
I’m not sure everyone will like Downhill, it is slow in places (indicative of the foreign film it is based on). The movie can also be unflinching and almost uncomfortable, yet I really liked it. It made me laugh out loud a few times and I left feeling pretty good about having taken the time to see it.
In the End: This is a great alternative to all those sappy romances that are going to come out around Valentine’s Day. If you need a laugh—and love your spouse (and all their faults)—go see Downhill.