by Katherine Winton (’25) | February 14, 2022
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and other top-billing actors of the 21st century, Don’t Look Up has received mixed reviews from viewers since its release last December. Adam McKay, who is known for writing Ant-Man, Holmes & Watson, and other hit comedy movies also wrote and directed this Netflix film. It was nominated for six Critics’ Choice Awards and four Academy Awards.
I first noticed the phenomenal soundtrack, as cinematography never feels complete without good music interlaced in the scenes. From the opening scene where Jennifer Lawrence sang along to Wu-Tang, to the very end when Bon Iver brought the movie to its dramatic conclusion, I thought that the Don’t Look Up soundtrack did a great job supporting the movie overall.
The plot focuses on the story of two scientists, Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) and Dr. Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence), who discover a comet hurtling toward Earth, projected to make impact in a little over six months. Although the calculations on the comet’s trajectory are peer-reviewed by hundreds of scientists, the public is manipulated by the president (Meryl Streep) of the United States to ignore the threat until later in the movie, when the president acknowledges it for clout in the coming election. An attempt to detour the comet is aborted when one of the richest people on Earth (Edward Fletcher) discovers that it could carry trillions of dollars worth of resources. In doing so, the president and the billionaire accept the risk of extinction solely for commercial benefits.
The plot of this movie satirizes the American view on climate change, criticizing people who ignore its huge threat despite scientific evidence proving otherwise. Through the use of metaphors, such as the comet symbolizing climate change, the movie makes it clear that politicians have failed to take the severity of the climate crisis seriously by indefinitely delaying climate action. In turn, there have been mixed opinions from viewers and experts on how the movie has portrayed climate change: some saying that it makes it clear that politicians have failed to act while others comment that the movie portrays climate change as just one thing, failing to address poverty, racism, and misogyny.Personally, I thought that the entertaining plot coupled with great acting aided the comedic aspect of the movie. I also liked that the movie emphasized its message while still allowing for humor in the dialogue and plot. Overall, I enjoyed Don’t Look Up and would strongly recommend this movie to people who have a few spare hours—and are looking for a good laugh about some of the flaws in American society!
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