Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio are the definitive stars of Don’t Look Up, but they’re just about the only members of the star-studded cast who don’t get to ham it up in an over-the-top fashion. In fact, this is a movie where revered Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett essentially play the comic relief. While the two get to try on their comedy chops, this is a satire, and in certain ways, their characters may be more chilling than Miranda Priestly or Carol Aird.
In the Scott McKay-directed Netflix film, Lawrence and DiCaprio play two scientists who have discovered a comet with the potential to destroy the earth is heading our way. The problem? Just about no one takes it seriously.
In the trailer, their first stop is a White House in which Streep as President Janie Orlean reigns in a red power suit, matching glasses, an ornate flag brooch, and relaxed curls (for some reason, a Webby Award trophy sits on her desk). It seems she’s not meant to be a direct parody of any existing politician, but the character remains upbeat and authoritative when she suggests the best way to address the comet is basically to do nothing at all.
With the White House not on their side, the scientists then try to get their message out in the media, only to be absolutely stonewalled by a chipper morning news team played by Tyler Perry and Blanchett in a Fox News blonde power wig and enough makeup to suggest she’s no stranger to Botox. Again, they’re absolutely no help. Eventually, Lawrence and DiCaprio’s characters have various run-ins with the FBI, a vacuous pop star played by Ariana Grande, and a random townie played by Timothée Chalamet. Of course, the cast is so large, some prominent members of it barely feature in the trailer, if at all (Matthew Perry, Chris Evans, Gina Gershon, and others are also in the film).
Based on the trailer, it’s obvious the film is a satire about the powers that be and their refusal to do anything serious about the threat of climate change—though it could also be read as a comedically vicious take on both the government and mainstream media’s inability to address any major issue without hemming, hawing, and worrying about how it may affect either votes or viewers.
The film will arrive in select theaters on December 10th (making it eligible for awards season), before streaming on Netflix on December 24th.