Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” Details a Dark Future Regarding Our Dependence on Social Media

Sohana Sahni, Staff Writer

Netflix’s new hit movie Don’t Look Up, released on Dec. 5, details a dark future regarding our current dependence on technology and social media. The plot follows two low-level astronomers who discover an apocalyptic comet hurtling towards Earth and try to save the human race. The movie contains an all-star cast, with award winning actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, and Timothée Chalamet. Though Don’t Look Up focuses on a fictional situation, in modern society, we can see many situations which mirror the events described. 

Throughout the book, astronomy professor Randall Mindy, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and astronomy PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky, played by Jennifer Lawrence, struggle to get American leaders and the general public to accept and address the reality of the comet’s existence and impact. The movie deals with many important topics, such as the importance of social media and the dangers of misinformation.

In the movie, when the public is first notified of the comet’s existence, they remain skeptical. Despite constant reassurance from the government and multiple reputable scientific sources that the comet is real, many American citizens continue to willingly remain ignorant. In fact, the ignorance remains so blatant that even when they can observe the comet in the sky, they still believe it isn’t real. This continued misinformation is fueled by social media conspiracy theorists and other skeptics throughout the movie and the cycle of misinformation is magnified through the internet and unreliable media sources. Though seemingly unrealistic, the media frenzy mirrors modern events today, such as the conspiracy theories and misinformation currently surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t Look Up displays a dramaticized yet clear example of how social media and other mistruthful sources can encourage a vicious cycle of conspiracy and misinformation.

“I think the movie really shows a clear message on the harmful effects of social media in how it can disperse unreliable information through the public,” said Arcadia High School sophomore Kaylee Pusateri. “I mean, these days you can say anything online and if enough people see it, it’s taken as the truth.”

The movie also identifies a dark truth in society: our inability to accept and deal with tough, life-changing issues and events. Rather than facing the truth that the comet is coming and an apocalypse is likely near, people prefer to live in their blissfully ignorant peace and not attempt to stop the transformation. Even though scientific facts and observation prove the comet, the general public tries hard to question the validity of its existence, as the idea that something so astronomically horrible can be happening right before us is terrifying. 

In summary, the film serves as an important reminder for much of our American youth today to exercise caution when using social media and be conscious of the way it can manipulate information. Though magnified in extremely polar issues, like COVID, this misinformation can also affect our day to day life and these controversies highlight the importance of having reliable, reputable news sources. 


Photo courtesy of UNSPLASH.COM