Don’t Look Up

Don’t Look Up is a 2021 American science fiction/comedy film written, produced, and directed by Adam McKay with a celebrity cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande among others. It tells the story of two astronomers attempting to warn humanity about an approaching comet that will destroy all life on earth; first, the warnings are not taken seriously due to the enormity of the impending crisis, while later political and economic interests converge to effectively prevent a viable solution, ultimately dooming the planet.

The film has been successful for the streaming platform, and sparked active, albeit controversial discussions about the underlying themes – in which the asteroid is positioned as an allgory for the climate crisis – as well as tone and framing of the movie.

  • Don’t Look Up critiques both ‘the media’ (including traditional broadcast media but also online social media platforms) for their role in crisis communication
  • Leonardo di Caprio, being known for his environmentalist rhetoric and actions, self-reflexively reassess his own position in popualr environmental discourse; the film both satirizes and glorifies aspects of his environmentalist persona in equal measure, which partly explains the controversy around the film. At any rate, it constitutes a playful take on the Green Aesop archetype, blending its fictional implementations with di Caprio’s celebrity status, thereby creating an unresolved ambiguity around both the person and the character