Audiences won’t look away from Don’t Look Up

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Jocelyn Leal, Editor-in-Chief

Satire is a common form of expression that people see daily. Whether it be a newspaper comic or a book, it is a way for people to present a mirror to the world around us, and in today’s political climate, they have become more popular than ever. Movies like Death to 2021 and Irresistible are making people look at COVID-19 and political agendas in a new light, but one political satire is taking the forefront. Don’t Look Up is Netflix’s latest satirical movie that forces audiences to think about the world around them in the hopes that they can prevent the dark future ahead.

Don’t Look Up brings together some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchet, Ariana Grande, and Timothee Chalamet, in a well-crafted display of dark humor.

The movie follows astronomers Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence) as they discover a meteor flying toward Earth at an extinction level rate. They race to warn the world, starting with President Orlean (Streep), who promptly leaves them waiting outside while she celebrates a birthday for one of her cabinet members. When they finally get a meeting with her and her Chief of Staff (Hill), they hear the news and respond with, “We should sit back and assess.” The story only gets worse from there as they struggle to get anyone to take the looming meteor seriously until it is actually in the sky, which then leads to a political battle between the believers and the tagline, “Just Look Up,” and the non-believers, “Don’t Look Up.”

Full of references to current pop culture, Don’t Look Up highlights trends that generally create the atmosphere of 2021, making the threat of world extinction more imminent. The metaphor is that the meteor represents the climate change crisis, and the responses to it by the government are somewhat hyperbolized but also scarily accurate.

End of the World– Characters Kate Dibiasky, Dr. Mindy and Yule go grocery shopping amidst looters. While the movie presented a satirized version of today’s world, it also looks into the dark future. “Are we really about to tell the President of the United States that we have just over six months until humankind, basically every species is completely extinct?” says Dibiasky. Photo credit: Flickr

And the high class line-up of actors was done right. They truly add to the film in that it fleshes them out and makes them seem like average people. It is funny to watch the fictional public make memes about Lawrence’s character, Streep gets collective sighs as America’s power-hungry leader, and Chalamet hits each of his one-liners as a shoplifting greaseball in his maybe 15 minutes of screen time.

Not only does the cast play significant roles, but they were also included to get the audience invested. This is a movie with some big messages that are important for all audiences to pay attention to, which can be achieved when familiar actors are on screen that people trust will give a good performance. This is the draw that a movie of this scale needs since it is so unique.

That uniqueness comes from the different genres that it falls under. The San Francisco Chronicle says it could be called the “funniest film of 2021, but also the most depressing,” which is completely true. There were points that generated a laugh out loud response, while others produced a sigh of defeat at the characters’ mistake and how those mistakes reflect those of the real world. While there are points that show a comedic side, the movie will leave you feeling a bit lost and wondering if this dark future will actually play out.

People who enjoy dark comedies or advocate for the climate crisis will enjoy Don’t Look Up. Even if such films are not your usual cup of tea, this movie is still a must watch for anyone who lives on Earth. While this movie is not a direct representation of what our future holds, it still acts as a mirror to what awaits us if we continue to ignore the climate crisis.

Don’t Look Up is available to stream on Netflix.

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