You know what is simultaneously funny and very sad about my watching of Don’t Look Up? It is that until the end, I had hope.
Sometimes I sit on my bed, and I think about what more I could do to, at my level, work against “the overwhelming threat that is climate change.” I used to think we could do so much more. I used to think I could do so much more. And of course, we can, but to what extent, to what degree? I like to think that I am still young (28) and that I have, as they say, “my life in front of me”, that there is so much I don’t know (that last part is true) but this I know for sure: governments are failing us. And it is not new. I was lucky enough to be able write a paper on the representation of climate change in fiction literature and let me tell you: that has been true for a while. Despite all this, it was not with great enthusiasm that I started watching Don’t Look Up, which is for most people I have heard, a movie about climate change and the corruption within our governments. I liked the cast, and I was excited to know why a Netflix movie could be so wildly liked. I can talk about the climate crisis for hours without interruption (ask my friends) but two and a half hours of Netflix, that’s not something I typically do. But oh well, watching this particular movie falls into the ‘general knowledge’ category these days (what to talk about at the pubs now that they’ve officially completely reopened), and the cast is great: Jennifer Lawrence (Mother), Meryl Streep (Out of Africa, The Devil Wears Prada) and our French national pride Timothee Chalamet (Euphoria), to only name them. I know what you’re thinking: that movie must have been expensive (allegedly $110 million, according to Forbes.) Ironic, isn’t it, for a movie ultimately about greed, politics, and capitalism. “It’s a popcorn movie,” says Chris Evans in his cameo appearance: and it is. It is not artistically inspired, nor is it particularly poetic: but it is bold, and it is in its way brilliant, putting us face-to-face with reality. It is neither a spectacular nor a legendary movie; chances are, you will not remember it a year from now, but you will remember its message: we tried to warn you.
After a few minutes, I started noting down the quotes I liked from this black comedy co-written by Adam McKay (who also gave us The Big Short) and David Sirota. As a climate activist (now less than I would want, maybe), “I am not on one side or the other, I am just telling you the f*ing truth” might be my favourite. I was reminded of a speech Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a couple of years ago about the disruption in the climate: “This is serious, this should not be a partisan issue.” Science does not argue with nature, politics do. And the movie shows us well. But to all of you worried and trying to get the word out there: as Jennifer Lawrence’s character says, no matter what the issue turns out to be, you’ll be grateful you tried.