February 9, 2022

Spot-on image of how Gen Z tends to cope by taking everything as a joke. Don’t look up review

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Don't Look Up

Picture by: Niko Tavernise / Netflix

Directed by Adam McKay, the movie Don’t Look Up is an apocalyptic dark comedy and political satire.

The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry – amongst many others.

The story revolves around two astronomers that spot a comet directed towards Earth and try to warn humankind that an extinction-level event is imminent. The response, both from the government and the public, is that it’s not as important as – and here comes a collection of typical engagements: the president (Meryl Streep) is more concerned with the impact the comet will have on upcoming elections, entertainment-driven media stars (Cate Blanchett, Tyler Perry) are unable to distinguish the importance between a life-threatening situation and gossip coverage about celebrities (Ariana Grande), and a Muskequese company owner (Mark Rylance) sees the comet as an income opportunity.

The planet-killing comet is quite obviously today’s global warming climate crisis. The scientific reasoning is there, the facts are there, the evidence is there -and yet, many still refuse to believe in this pressing issue, they “do not look up” and they do not face the facts.

“Thing of it is, we really did have everything, didn’t we? I mean when you think about it.”

Dr. Randall Mindy in Don’t Look Up

In this, McKay’s movie is a parody of today’s society. While irony adds colour to the imagery, the meaning behind it is spot on. Our society, and especially Generation Z – portrayed en masse by a character played by Timothée Chalamet – tends to cope by taking everything as a joke, even while in reality they are hurting inside.

The media itself plays a big part in this because of its ritualisation to either be capable of showing only part of the truth, as truth may offend feelings and deter audiences, or because media thrives in controversy, so instead of a reasonable debate creators are interested in making a highly divisive show. Moreover, the media format is linked to people who create them – which can be seen when Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) loses himself while trying to play the media system in order to get his point across, and then does not stick to his values when he becomes one of the most famous people in America. The fame corrupts him and ties him to inauthenticity – until he finally realises “Not everything needs to sound so clever, or charming, or likeable all the time. Sometimes we need to just be able to say things to one another. We need to hear things”.

‘Pay me the respect due’. Sidney Poitier as a symbol of perseverance

by Sofiya Sulemenova

Each and every one of us already know that governments are hiding details and information from citizens In some cases, however, it is important to go with the truth and be candid – and this does not happen in McKay’s United States because of how closely The White House is tied with business and how partisan interests are considered to be more important than the biological survival of humankind.

Finally, there is a massive takeaway in the movie, because like the people in Don’t Look Up we do not want to face the reality of an extinction-level event looming in our near future: as a global society, we refuse to take responsibility for the destruction of Earth. The massive deforestation; the plastic pollution of the seas and lands; the oil spills; the extinction of many species, etc. We are killing the living beings who inhabit this world, and we are killing ourselves.

Written by:


Sofiya Suleimenova

former International Affairs Section Editor

Geneva, Switzerland

Born in 2006 in Barcelona, Spain, Sofiya currently studies in Switzerland. She aims to study law, preferably in the United States. In her free time, Sofie practices karate – she won a silver medal for kata and a bronze in sparring. She speaks French, English, Russian and Spanish.

She started her collaboration with Harbingers’ Magazine as a Staff Writer. In 2022, she assumed the role of the International Affairs Correspondent. Sofiya created and manages the collaboration with LEARN Afghan organisation, under which teenage girls from Afghanistan receive free education in journalism and English. In recognition of the importance of this project, in September of 2023, she was promoted to the role of the International Affairs Section editor.



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