Did you see this one? I think it's a brilliant little gem of a movie. Being filmed in Boston helps, of course. (Yes, we watched them working on this a while ago throughout the city.) In any case - there's been a mixed bag of reviews, and I have a pet theory.
But let's start with the movie. Allegedly, a satire about the ongoing climate change crisis, upon viewing, I immediately had the thought that it's "Deep Impact" with President Trump instead of Morgan Freeman. (Your only spoiler.)
Movies are many things to many people. Some are lighthearted entertainment, there can be goofiness, drama, and sometimes the film-maker has an agenda and a message. Of course this is a "message" movie, so it has provoked some strong opinions.
But like everything else in America these days, those opinions of course fall along party lines. Here's a snippet of a review from The National Review, which has declared it the "worst film of 2021."
Don’t Look Up is Netflix’s evasive, misstated excuse for political satire that fails very badly because writer-director Adam McKay doesn’t grasp his own political prejudices. Unlike Jude, McKay has no real sense of humor, just sophomoric ridicule. He brazenly broadcasts the entitled sense of obnoxiousness encouraged in Hollywood or Broadway environs, where liberalism has turned into progressivism. And as essayist David Horowitz observed, “inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.”
Romanian esthete Jude knows what totalitarianism looks like, but self-satisfied American McKay thinks totalitarianism looks like progress. That’s why Don’t Look Up’s score-settling jokes are off. The premise, in which a team of astrophysicists (Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) discover a comet headed for collision with Earth and try to warn the president of the United States (Meryl Streep), is so deeply earnest — yet facetious — that it’s humorless. DiCaprio and Lawrence fear that only six months and 14 days remain for mankind, echoing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s warning that we all have only 12 years left before humanity collapses. The warnings go unheeded, because we are not as smart as them.
Their opinion is strong - but yet, here's another review of the same movie
. Are we sure they were watching the same thing? This comes from "The Arts Fuse", an online cultural magazine that probably doesn't have a political agenda - but they are based in Boston, so there might be a slight bias.
Don’t Look Up is a clever, unapologetically brash satire about a future America so consumed with celebrity worship, brain-numbing infotainment, social media popularity, and political gamesmanship that it refuses to take the impending destruction of planet Earth seriously. We’re not talking climate change here, though the parallel is obvious. Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) has irrefutable evidence that an unprecedentedly gigantic comet will wipe out Earth in precisely six months, 14 days. The chances of “planet extinction” are set at 99.78%.
“Call it 70% and let’s just move on,” says President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep), who’s more bothered by the upcoming midterms and the unearthing of nude pics of her sexy boyfriend, a Supreme Court nominee.
Are you an unabashed pessimist about 21st-century America? Do you believe that we’ve reached a point that — to quote W.B. Yeats — “the center cannot hold”? And, most of all, are you in the apparent minority who understands that true satire is a purposeful exaggeration of reality? If so, I say just give this liberating, appropriately cynical, fitfully hilarious film a look.
Despite an abundance of cinematic virtues, Don’t Look Up has been met with more negative reviews than raves, and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 55%. Critics from all political segments of the mainstream media have joined the surprisingly ferocious attack on this expertly made comedy. The Wall Street Journal and Britain’s Guardian exhibited outright loathing; The Guardian‘s Charles Bramesco went so far as to complain that the movie might “drive away any [anti-science] partisans who still need to be won over,” as if the film were some sadly tone-deaf BBC News Hour segment.
I would of course, direct you to watch the movie yourself and formulate your own opinion. But isn't it truly indicative of the "United" States today, and our ever-accelerating Balkanization, if we can't even watch a movie without a literal elephant in the room?