Don’t Look Up (2021)

“Dearest Father and Almighty Creator, we ask for Your grace tonight, despite our pride. Your forgiveness, despite our doubt. Most of all, Lord, we ask for Your love to soothe us through these dark times. May we face whatever is to come in Your divine will with courage and open hearts of acceptance. Amen.”

This prayer from the final dinner scene from “Don’t Look Up” (2021, Netflix), spoken by Yule (Timothée Chalamet), brought me to tears.

*Some spoilers ahead*

It’s a brilliant film; a political satire, dark comedy, a brilliant attempt to illustrate the impact of climate change and humankind’s role in it via the easy metaphor of a comet on its way toward Earth, and via just-enough chemistry among members of a high-profile star-studded (no pun intended) cast. 2020-2021 are undoubtedly the best time for this film to be released.

Leonardo DiCaprio (Randall Mindy), Timothée Chalamet (Yule), Melanie Lynskey (June), and a bit of Cate Blanchett (Brie) were where I sense the harmony and power the most. Jennifer Lawrence (Kate Dibiasky), Meryl Streep (President Orlean), and Jonah Hill (Jason Orlean) are great, but it felt a bit too much like they were playing the stereotypes of their roles than the roles themselves. In the case of Lawrence, her character Dibiasky was certainly designed and depicted with a sense of many underlying issues: complicated childhood (as seen in the scene at her parents’ house) and growing up (as seen via the drinking, the boyfriend, and to a strange degree the fact that she would hang out with the young and chaotic crowd of Timothée Chalamet’s character Yule). Yet given the time left for her and Dr Mindy (with a host of his own issues) on Earth, literally, there was no real estate to explore any of those things. With such, Dibiasky carried an air of aloofness not so different from that of Yule, and in some weird way almost the opposite side of the coin from that of Jason Orlean (played by Jonah Hill). Dibiasky’s passion for the science didn’t come across as much as her distaste for the media, and to a degree for the world in which she was named after the object that was about to end it. This of course would work with the storyline, though it might not be the most consistent with Dibiasky’s character and potential backstory, and in some way that showed in Lawrence’s performance. Whether or not this struggle was completely intentional, it worked out fine for her, and you could feel that her closest two fellow actors/characters, DiCaprio and Chalamet, played their parts well to make it work with her.

The hardest character to relate to was certainly Peter Isherwell (played by Mark Rylance), not because he was robot-like and socially awkward and terribly selfish, but because he too didn’t seem to embrace the science that he was supposed to strongly stand strongly and vocally for. Whether Isherwell was supposed to be a caricature of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or any other weird tech genius billionnaire with a penchant for both conquering the Earth and getting the hell out of it, in Don’t Look Up, Isherwell fell just a bit short of the dual edges that made both Musk and Bezos such tantalizing characters of our time: a bizarrely passionate expression of their belief in the science/business, and a practiced charisma when engaging with those of power to get what they want. Isherwell felt a bit too distant from both angles, and a bit too explicit in treating President Orlean with a not-so-subtle “I own you” attitude.

Fun fact — most of Don’t Look Up was filmed in Massachusetts. https://www.boston.com/…/dont-look-up-wraps-filming…/

Enjoy the film!

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