Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” brings attention to unspoken contemporary issues


Bruna Horvath, Staff Writer

A new Netflix Original movie, Don’t Look Up, caught the attention of many by its jam-packed A-list celebrity cast. Its most notable names were Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo Dicaprio, Timothee Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, and Ariana Grande… just to name a few.

The movie begins with a terrifying discovery by graduate student, Kate Dibiasky, who is portrayed by Lawrence. While conducting research, Dibiasky discovers an asteroid heading straight towards Earth whose impact would end all of mankind. Dicaprio’s character, Dr. Randall Mindy, works beside Dibiasky as her teacher and mentor. Together, they attempt to spread nationwide awareness to try to find a way to stop the asteroid and to save humanity. However, to their surprise, this news is received with ignorance and spread dishonestly by influential individuals.

The film’s director, Adam McKay, explained that through this movie, he wanted to provide commentary on many alarming current issues that feel unspoken by the media. McKay decided to make the film an allegory for the climate crisis.

“If you don’t have at least a small ember of anxiety about the climate collapsing (or the US teetering) I’m not sure Don’t Look Up makes any sense.” McKay told IndieWire.

Throughout the film, president Orlean, portrayed by Streep, and her chief of staff Jason, portrayed by Jonah Hill, encourage the public to stay calm and advise them to “Don’t Look Up”. Since the issue is played down, the public is not wary of the asteroid and continue life as usual, without realizing that in six months all will be destroyed.

“The movie’s obviously about the climate crisis, but it also happens to be lining up with the collapse of American democracy within the next three years, and this towering income inequality,” said McKay. President Orlean and Jaso play a crucial role in showing how the influential and wealthy have the privilege to undermine important issues. By the end of the film, President Orelan’s character is unaffected by the catastrophic event, and is able to flee the planet with a group of other wealthy individuals. All seems well on their new planet they inhabit until President Orlean is eaten by an alien creature.

McKay also shows how political divides can destroy a country and distract from real issues. While President Orlean and Jason are promoting “Don’t Look up” as their political campaign, Dibiasky and Mindy are encouraging the county to “Look Up” and face the issues. However, the asteroid has become so politicized that the message has strayed away from the actual problem. President Orlean and Jason get too caught up in wanting to be reelected and Dibiasky and Mindy get lost in the new found publicity.

A piece of this movie that I find ridiculously clever is the cast selection. The extremely talented cast caught the eyes of many before the film was even released. This choice was very purposeful, McKay filled a film with celebrities that everyone enjoys and hid the film’s important messages and themes all in the middle. Catching the attention of all the film buffs that love Dicaprio’s and Streep’s work and teenage girls that love Chalamet. Because of this, this film broke Netflix’s weekly viewership record with 152.59 million viewing hours.

So, if you want to watch a movie that will make you laugh, cry, and worry a little bit about our country’s future, I would highly recommend Don’t Look Up.