Why you should look up

While a pandemic should have a cut and dry response, Americans were quick to make sure that was not the case. Don’t Look Up explores these themes in a comical and dark-humored. Photo by Vadim Sadovski on shutterstock.com

This article contains spoilers for Netflix’s Don’t Look Up 

Adam McKay, widely known for his direction in The Big Short, Anchorman and Step Brothers, tackled a Netflix satirical comedy released on Dec.5th.

While it has cult-classic potential, overall, the film fell flat. “Don’t Look Up” may be a mixed bag, but it also has a powerful parallel to our current reality the past two years. 

It took me a month from the release to finally click on the film, but I regret not seeing it sooner. Immediately, I saw a similarity in the fear over a comet and the COVID-19 crisis. 

Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence play astronomers discovering an extinction-level comet heading straight towards Earth. 

As they hurry to spread the word and get the government involved, the President, played by Meryl Streep, immediately derails their plan and makes the crisis political. 

It felt exceedingly strange to see an inevitable, scientifically proven external threat, and people were still questioning its validity. Throughout the film, politicians dedicate campaigns to causing distrust in science and trust in politicians. 

After the world finally gets a clue, a big tech company funds and heads a mission to break up the comet and deflect it from Earth. 


Throughout the film, social media and sound bites play a part in spreading disinformation surrounding the comet, in addition to political and celebrity influence. 

Unfortunately, all the missions fail, and we are left with a heartfelt last supper between our characters as the film ends. 

This comedy mirrors our lives in deeply unsettling ways. In our reality, we have seen politicians, news anchors and scientists scuffle as they try to wrangle the public into believing what they each want us to think. 

“[Don’t Look Up] is a bummer of a movie…in a GOOD way. Eye-opening look into our inevitable demise unless something changes,” Twitter user Clayton Davis writes. 

Like the comet, the media made COVID-19 a political scandal instead of a crisis. 

During the pandemic, information consumed by the public has felt mostly sensationalized, hard to digest or just plain wrong. 

It should have been short and sweet: listen to health professionals. Scientists told us the gravity of the situation long before we were in the depths of the pandemic. 

We did not listen. 

While a pandemic should be cut and dry when it comes to the global response, it does not surprise me that Americans were quick to make sure that was not the case. “Don’t Look Up” explores these themes in a comically-dark way  

McKay’s satire will have audiences to come wondering what was going on in the world at the time of the release, thank God for history books. 

Then again, I would not believe those.