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Don’t Look Up Analysis: Themes of Apathy

The Who & The What #009

Don’t Look Up Analysis: Themes of Apathy

Watch my Don’t Look Up analysis in this deep-dive video essay, which explores the screenplay’s character development and themes of apathy.

Don't Look Up Analysis President Orlean

Don’t Look Up is a disaster comedy set in the present day, as two astronomers are faced with the task of warning humankind about an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

The script makes excellent use of its satirical tone to reflect on the current state of society’s apathy towards the looming environmental crisis.

Writer and director Adam McKay mobilises this comedic subgenre to make such an important issue more accessible and entertaining to a broader audience that may otherwise resist direct criticism.

Primarily, the screenplay’s central theme is explored through the character web, as each character expresses a varied reaction to the devastating news of the planet’s fate.

Don't Look Up Analysis Randall Scream

While the movie targets different strands of society with its broad satire, it ultimately condemns the widespread apathy and lack of action towards the environment.

The screenplay also uses aspects of character development to express how a twisted system corrupts individuals, as morals and values fall victim to the pleasantries of fame and fortune. 

While exploring all of this, my Don’t Look Up analysis also explores the clear inspiration behind McKay’s characters and how the script directly reflects our own absurd reality. 

Don't Look Up Analysis Randall Kate

Overall, Don’t Look Up presents a poignant commentary on societal apathy towards environmental issues.

Its thought-provoking character web points us back to our own existence and emphasises the need for individual and collective action towards a sustainable future.

If you want to see a Don’t Look Up analysis from a professional screenplay consultant, the video essay above is a must-watch.

Learn how the story’s theme is interwoven through the primary characters and gain a deeper understanding of the screenwriting craft. 

Also, to check out the rest of my video essay series, click the button below.

Nick Fore Script Doctor / Script Consultant

Nick Fore is an experienced script consultant who reads screenplays for the British Film Institute.


He has written comprehensive coverage on over 1,000 scripts and has helped screenwriters get their work into development with production companies such as Imagine Entertainment and Screen Ireland. 

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