Upper meets lower

Which is actually stronger, a monopolistic-world-dominating corporation, young love, or gravity? The Hollywood answer is obvious, but this film isn’t from California. It’s French-Canadian.

Science fiction posits two planets in close proximity. All material on each planet is affected only by its own gravity. Material from one planet can only last an hour or so on the other before it bursts into flames. A boy from the abysmally poor lower world, or course, falls for a girl in the affluent upper world.

It’s a bit more of an obstacle than Romeo had when he climbed the trellis to get to Juliet.

The crazy thing is that actor Jim Sturgess and actress Kirsten Dunst actually make the romantic story work. “Upside-Down” has great special effects, but it’s much more than a film lover’s film. The audience, like the young lovers, has to make great credibility leaps before we can settle in to the charming love story, but it’s worth it.

Politics are clear in the two-planet world dominated by a single corporation. The corporation basically transfers oil from the poor world to the rich one; then sells refined products back to the poor. “Corporatism” is what Benito Mussolini called fascism, and its clearly so in this film.

But for all its careful work in setting the background, this is still a film about young love, and young love is still the best vehicle the movies ever had.


Directed by Juan Solanas

2012, 100 mins., PG-13

Photo: “Upside Down” official site