Movie Review: Don’t Look Up (2021)

Don’t Look Up (dir. Adam McKay, 2021) – Two astronomers embark on a media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.


Of epidemics and insurgencies, our world is plagued with myriad troubles. The most prevalent plague is perhaps apathy, which has only persisted and grown over the years in spite of our societal and technological advances. From climate change to global poverty, many of us choose to ignore the problems that feel distant to us. So long as it happens to far-flung nations or in someone else’s lifetime, why do we care?

Don’t Look Up satirises this ongoing crisis with the worst-case scenario: Grad school astronomers Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) and Dr. Mindy (Leonardo Dicaprio) have discovered a comet heading towards Earth, and no one seems to care. It doesn’t matter what the numbers show. President Orlean (Meryl Streep) remains indifferent, talk show hosts make light of the situation, and the citizenry turns it all into an ideological battle.

Don't Look Up
More sensible than training oil drillers to become astronauts, I suppose.

The situation, while exaggerated, is not that far off from reality. We have long ignored the inconvenient truths, despite knowing their devastating impact in the long run. To climate change, we respond with massive fundraising concerts and Greta Thunberg memes. Words outnumber action plans for complex world issues, which all eventually become gaming chips in a political casino.

As we watch President Orlean asking for “the ask” and her slacker son Jason (Jonah Hill) shrugging off news of potential armageddon, we chuckle. We laugh when we see the reactionary memes to Dibiasky and Mindy as they become public figures. So ready are we to scoff at the absurdity of what unfolds on screen, yet we almost forget how much it, tragically, mirrors our current state of affairs.

Don't Look Up
Make Armageddon great again.

Its obvious parallels to left/right-wing American politics doesn’t let the rest of the world off either. We are just as guilty of playing bystanders from afar, enjoying the farce as reality television. Even for those of us who turn away, we can easily find our own versions of this twisted reality unfolding in our own backyards.

The film is funny, because it’s true. And it is sad too. As we close in on the inevitable end, with the comet glowing brighter and nearer, there is a sense of melancholy at all that we have lost, not because of the lack of resources or solutions, but because we chose apathy.

Several comets are heading our way, even if they aren’t literal rocks blazing like stars in the skies. Don’t Look Up forces us to ruminate on our collective inaction in reality and its eventual cost, leaving us with the biggest question of all – what are we going to do about it?

This social satire will drive you to tears of both laughter and grief for how concerningly close it mirrors our troubled reality.

Don’t Look Up is now on Netflix.


4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Don’t Look Up (2021)

  1. I mostly liked this one. I thought it was a little long as it repeated jokes and J. Law’s character didn’t have much to do after her on-air blow-up. But still had some solid social commentary and satire.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent review Jade. The satire is hilarious, yet sad because it is true and unfortunately not all that embellished about those that have gone down the rabbit hole of political extremism.

    The good news is most of that perception is driven by social media and “news” sites. The silent majority has just become more silent. Or it might be better said we’ve been drowned out by the noise. There might be 10,000 people storm the Capital or 10,000 people protesting and burning down a city, but that’s about .00003% of the population. The other 99.9997% of us are at work earning for our families, helping our kids with their homework, mowing our lawns, playing Animal Crossing, and so on. On their own, my kids bake and sell goodies to support more than 50 kids in a country less fortunate than us. Unfortunately instead of seeing them in tomorrow’s headline it will be some knucklehead that threatened a school principal trying to keep their kid safe.

    I tell people they have to watch this movie until it completely ends, like resets to the preview screen. The “incident” after the credits start rolling literally had me sliding off the couch I was laughing so hard. I didn’t see that coming and oh the irony! And then the very end, hahahaha wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tony! I might have skipped out on this movie if not for your recommendation in my inbox. Glad I didn’t! It was a barrel of laughs, yet it made me think too.

      I do think you’re right. There is still much good in the world, but it is the worst deeds that get the page views. It’s scary to know that there are people out there, holding onto such extreme beliefs. Thankfully, it does appear that the new generation wants change, with more of them speaking up against this craziness in recent years. Hopefully, your kids will get to enjoy a resultantly better future. They certainly deserve it for their kind hearts! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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