If you’ve yet to watch the latest Adam McKay film, Don’t Look Up,you should probably go and do that first before reading on. Not because the movie is ground-breaking or spectacular, but rather because it’s quickly becoming a trending topic.
In fact, it might be one of the most divisive movies of 2021. Released to Netflix on December 24th, it’s been sitting firmly on the top 10 list. Further, it’s become Netflix’s 3rd biggest movie of all time.
So, I’ll say it again: if you haven’t already GO WATCH IT.
Then, come back and continue reading to get my take on the film and what it says about human nature, relationships, and love.
*Warning: Some spoilers ahead
Don’t Look Up
Don’t Look Up stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy, an astronomy professor at Michigan State University, and Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky, his Ph.D-level student. After Kate discovers a previously unknown comet, their excitement over quickly turns to unparalleled fear. Randall has determined that the comet will hit Earth in approximately six-months, effectively killing all of humanity. The calculation is further confirmed by NASA scientist Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan).
The three of them meet with Janie Orlean, the President of the United States played by Meryl Streep, and her Chief of Staff and son, Jason (Jonah Hill) to warn them of the impending “planet-killer.” When they’re brushed off by the White House, they turn to the media, appearing on a popular morning talk show with hosts Brie Evantee and Jack Bremmer (Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry). Again, they don’t receive the response they expected – instead Kate is meme-d by the internet and Randall is declared ‘America’s sexiest scientist.’
Eventually, President Orlean comes to recognize the severity of the situation and launches a mission to divert the comet. Randall, Kate, and Teddy are relieved, but their restored hope doesn’t last long as the project is abruptly canceled midway through. It turns out that tech billionaire and top donor Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) has discovered resources on the comet worth trillions. Thus, President Orlean decides to follow his plan of allowing the comet to get closer before using drones to break it up into smaller pieces that can be mined for the resources.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. I found it both darkly funny and realistically depressing. It’s clear that the movie is trying to send a strong message about climate change and the dangers of greed. And, for the most part, the second message is conveyed pretty well.
The climate change element is much less obvious. Initially, I saw far more parallels to the recent COVID-19 issue than to climate change. At times, Don’t Look Up seemingly misunderstands the very topic it’s trying to illustrate. Whereas the Earth-destroying comet comes with a clear date, climate change doesn’t have the same kind of immediacy. There’s also no instant “mission” available to directly counteract the effects – we can’t just launch a rocket into space to suddenly – and forever – eliminate global warming.
But I think the film does a solid job of parodying social media, our cultural obsession with celebrity, and political agendas. In my opinion, it seems like a better portrait of human nature than a climate change parable.
I was also strongly impressed with the acting, particularly that of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jonah Hill. Tyler Perry and Cate Blanchett also did great work here, but I felt like the movie was trying too hard to cram as many Big Names into one picture as possible. So much so that it almost took away from the movie’s quality.
Finally, the run time. At 2 hours and 25 minutes the movie was simply way too damn long. They could have easily cut about 30 minutes out and it would’ve been just as good (if not better.)
Despite these flaws, I’d give Don’t Look Up a solid 3.8 stars.
The Underlying Message about Relationships
Don’t Look Up is an apocalyptic satire filled with political commentary, but it’s not just about the end-of-the-world or the global climate change crisis. It’s also about love and relationships.
Here are 3 takeaways from the film about relationships:
1. Infidelity Has a Lot to Do with Opportunity
Dr. Randall is married with grown kids. He’s a top astronomy professor with a seemingly happy home life. And yet, after appearing on her morning talk show, he starts an affair with Brie, the beautiful yet shallow co-host.
Now, sure, Dr. Randall looks like Leonardo DiCaprio, but he’s far from the playboy type. He’s nervous, shy, and dedicated to both science and his family. Why would he cheat with a vapid TV personality?
Part of it has to do with opportunity. Randall is suddenly thrust into the spotlight and lauded as ‘America’s sexiest scientist.’ And Brie makes her interest in him readily apparent. I think the film is trying to say that, regardless of our character, anybody can get swept up in fantasy and fame.
2. When Shit Hits the Fan, We Want to Be Surrounded by People we Love
Eventually, Randall stops acting like such a jackass long enough to recognize that President Orlean’s new plan probably isn’t going to work. At that point, he has a hilariously-timed and extremely well-acted freak out on Brie’s morning show where he pleads with the public to stop listening to the media.
But, the most poignant statement he makes here is when he softly says to Brie, “I just want to go home.”
Because, at the end of the day, when we’re scared and anxious, we want to be with the people we love the most. And for Dr. Randall, that’s his wife and kids.
3. Hope will always Persist
Towards the end of the movie, there’s a scene where Kate and Randall are driving on a deserted road with Kate’s new boyfriend, Yule (Timothée Chalamet). It’s a seemingly mundane and meaningless scene – John actually thought it should’ve been cut. However, I disagreed.
From the backseat, Yule suddenly asks Kate to marry him, and even though she responds with her typical indifference, we see that she smiles. By this point, she’s 99% sure that the world is going to end in the very near future. And yet, she smiles at the idea of getting married.
So, while the scene wasn’t really necessary for the plot, I think it actually says a lot about the nature of hope. Kate holds onto her hope of things working out until the very end. She wants to believe that she’ll get a happily ever after even though her logical brain knows that she probably won’t.
In the end, the movie might’ve been a miss-fire in terms of stressing the importance of the climate crisis. But, it was a darkly funny film about political incompetence, human nature, and the relationships we form with one another.
Have you seen Don’t Look Up? What are your thoughts on the movie and what it says about humanity?
Let me know in the comments below!
Pin this Post for Later!