"The Incredible Shrinking Man" Reveals Each Person's Connection to the Infinite


The initial scenes of "The Incredible Shrinking Man" give no indication of the Reel Insight to come.  Despite terrific special effects and a compelling musical score, the film suffers from weak character development and marginal acting.  That makes it all the more disarming when the final minutes of the film delve into profound ideas about existence, and each human being's connection to the infinite.

While boating one day, Scott Carey (played by Grant Williams) is exposed to a strange cloud of unknown particles.  Within six months, he realizes that his body is steadily shrinking in size.  When he is the size of a toy, he moves into a doll house, where he is attacked by the house cat, and finds himself plummeting into basement, trapped in a hostile new world where previously harmless objects (such as a mouse trap or a spool of thread) become instruments of life or death. 

As Carey struggles to survive, his wife has given him up for dead.  For most of the film, the audience hopes for the typical last minute rescue and happy ending.  But for "The Incredible Shrinking Man," there is instead a realization that he does not need rescuing - that he does not want to be rescued from his place in the Universe.


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Finally small enough to slip through the tiny holes of the cellar window screen - and continuing to shrink to the size of an atom - he steps into the night and gazes up to the stars and the moon, describing his feelings of awe and acceptance:

"So close, the infinitesimal and the infinite.  But suddenly, I knew they were really two ends of the same concept.  The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet - like the closing of a gigantic circle.  I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens.  The universe, worlds beyond number.  God's silver tapestry spread across the night.  And in that moment I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite.  I had thought in terms of man's own limited dimension.  I had presumed upon nature.  That existence begins and ends is man's conception, not nature's.  And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing.  My fears melted away, and in their place came acceptance.  All this vast majesty of creation - it had to mean something.  And then I meant something, too.  Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too.  To God, there is no zero.  I still exist."