While reading Is the science in "Don't Look Up" realistic? and wondering if this movie was intended to make a point, I had the question whether this movie is meant to allegorically illustrate people's inadequate response in light of overwhelming scientific evidence. That is, are they trying to call out people who reject mainstream conclusions with respect to climate change or Covid vaccination?

Some writers, for example in Slate and Time suppose that it is commentary on climate change inaction. I had the same initial impression, without real information about the creator's intent.

From Slate:

The overwhelming consensus among critics is that McKay’s new comedy is an allegory for climate change, a film that lampoons our refusal to take sufficient action to deter an all-too-real environmental crisis that is rapidly spiraling out of control.

From Time:

If you follow the public conversation around climate change, you have probably heard about Don’t Look Up. The Netflix disaster movie, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as ignored scientists Randall Mindy and Kate Dibiasky, uses an impending comet strike as a cautionary tale for climate change.

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    So I'm very tempted to downvote this ... because it seems self evident that this is a commentary on the anti-expert and anti-science opponents of issues such as climate change and vaccinations. So much so that it is being criticized even by liberal commentators as being too condescending towards certain groups and obvious in its message. Therefore I would ask what kind of more direct answer would satisfy you here? Something from producers/directors/writers?
    – iandotkelly
    Dec 27, 2021 at 20:07
  • It seems self-evident to me that it is, but I'm just a casual movie watcher. It's also a bit mystifying that they would want to send that message then use science in the movie that the casual viewer would find unsatisfying. The cast seems to consist of people would would want to bolster the idea of climate change, not undermine it. Dec 27, 2021 at 20:21
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    Why do you think they are undermining climate change? They are making fun of people that dismiss science. The protagonists of the movie are the scientists - the antagonists are politicians and business people that minimize or dismiss the risks.
    – iandotkelly
    Dec 28, 2021 at 3:03
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    It's totally a commentary on the attitude in general - science denialism.
    – iandotkelly
    Dec 28, 2021 at 14:37
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    @DonBranson I think your point might be undermined by SPOILER the fact that in the movie, the scientists were proved exactly right in the end. Maybe part of the commentary is that even when a prediction maybe not be 100% accurate, if the consequences are severe enough, it makes sense to err on the side of caution. Dec 28, 2021 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


According to Variety, Adam McKay, who wrote and directed the film, said in a interview that it is specifically about climate change. Also, the first draft of the script was complete before the pandemic started, so while it definitely could have a double meaning and additional relevance related to the pandemic, that wasn’t the original intent.

McKay, who wrote and directed the Netflix film, wanted to make a movie about the impending climate apocalypse — one that was “a big, broad comedy,” as he called it in a recent interview with Variety. And that was McKay’s plan before the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, causing new and horrifying variations of anti-science denial.


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