'Facile questions and ludicrous voices of opposition for "balance"'

Jennifer Lawrence attending the EE British Academy Film Awards held at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensin

Jennifer Lawrence plays astronomer Kate Dibiasky in black comedy Don't Look Up - Credit: PA

Almost everything is great about the film Don’t Look Up, including its sneaky timing.

I saw it with my family over Christmas, not expecting anything more than another light blockbuster. When I picked my jaw off the floor, I realised I was seeing the unique property of good satire to make your culture viciously seen, while making you both appalled and amused.

It’s plot is about a comet bringing disaster to the planet but, even if you haven’t yet watched the film, you will probably have noticed how many environmental campaigners are in love with it.

But just as you didn’t need to be in CND to appreciate Dr Strangelove, Don’t Look Up should be seen by everyone, whether or not you are a paid-up Green. 

Sian Berry AM asks why the half a billion pounds waiting to be spent on housing is not being used now.

Sian Berry reflects on art reflecting reality - Credit: Archant

Meanwhile, with some spoilers, here are three things I noted while watching Don’t Look Up.

First, Jennifer Lawrence has a far better "what the hell have I just been asked?" face than I have ever managed on TV. But I have also, over my 20 years in campaigning, been asked the most facile questions and placed alongside the most ludicrous voices of opposition for "balance". I have struggled very hard not to be the "yelling lady" who doesn’t get invited back.

Second, like climate action, the themes of failed leadership and civilisation threatening parallels with an approaching comet extend also to coronavirus. In our world decisions also follow potential profits far more than the common good, and I still haven’t recovered from seeing the film’s spoof TV ads from vested interests that promote ‘the jobs the comet will bring’ over action to divert it.

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And third, while having six months’ warning of the comet’s approach is short, our deadline to fix carbon emissions is now not much longer. The year 2022 will see the fourth anniversary of the UN climate committee’s special report in 2018, which gave us just ten years to get within safe limits or face runaway climate breakdown.

Along with this five star piece of hilarious and thoughtful entertainment, the turning of the year has brought to the front of my mind those limits and that deadline. I hope this is the year when we will look up and truly transform our society to save the real world.

Sian Berry (Green Party) is a London Assembly Member and a Highgate councillor.

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