Life stories

Real // Surreal

*If you’re planning to watch Don’t look up, Don’t keep reading*

I went to the cinema last night. It was the first movie outing in over 2 years, and it was deeply unsettling for 2 reasons: the movie itself and the Rowdy boys in the back of the theatre. The movie was Don’t look up; it’s labelled a comedy/disaster and it’s about a group of scientists trying to save humanity, their warnings about a deadly collision of an incoming comet to earth, falling on deaf ears. It’s an example of a surreal but perfectly plausible scenario, like a lucid dream or the worst day of your life, when Murphy’s law in inescapable and whatever you do, you can’t find the emergency exit but can only drive through the nightmare until it’s over. Some tv shows and movies take a special kind of mindset and as we get older, we may find ourselves limiting our viewing preferences; some issues are just too rough.

For example, ever heard of The handmaid’s tale? It’s a dystopian drama, set in an alternate reality where patriarchy is the rule, women are subservient in every sense, society is divided in classes, atrocities are perfectly justified if the rulers say so, yet true human connections have not been extinguished. It’s a constant struggle for the protagonists, an endurance race with the ultimate prize being human dignity and freedom. It’s brilliant and terrifying. The act of men of the higher class having non-consensual sex with the fertile women servants, all for the greater purpose of procreation and continuation of humankind, is too close to real-life legal control of women’s bodies and choices, in the name of spirituality and right to life at a cellular level. Parallel lines can be drawn between fiction and reality and the whole show gives you a taste of what could have been if supremacy overpowers the people. But at least you know what to expect from this drama.

What you don’t expect is a comedy starring Leo D. and J-Law, leaving you with a sense of futility. Just like The Handmaid’s tale awakens fear of extreme oppression, this movie is a window to the effects of extreme stupidity. It’s a parody film of what we’re currently living with the climate crisis, a satirical show with snapshots of what our national leaders’ discussions actually look like. In the face of an imminent, human race extinguishing disaster, political action must be taken considering election time and maximum profit making from what looks like a godsend but is in fact a huge ass comet threatening to wipe out the planet.

Top scientists are either ridiculed or get make overs and 15 minutes of fame, only to realize that they’re playing a losing game, too late into it. In the final moments of their existence, they are comforted by the fact that they did all they could. They took to news outlets and social media, they were outspoken and got chastised for it; they saw it coming and warned everyone. Eventually though, they too became stardust.

Does it ring any bells yet?

Image by Aakash Sethi from

While we choose to deploy new natural gas power plants, spend millions and billions into new infrastructure to transfer this finite resource from one edge of the seabed to another, and justify it by predictions of future money, we are essentially losing precious time, resources and brain matter. We are investing our valuable efforts into temporary fixes while ignoring the 10km-wide comet that’s heading right for earth. How’s that for a parallel line?

On top of this internal strife, numbing down the laughs, the idiot Rowdy boys from the seats at the back of the theatre also earned a variety of spiteful feelings and exhales. Cinema nights on weekends are out, early screenings on school nights are in. If only we could bring our own snacks too. The cherry on my frustration pie? Cate Blanchet and Meryl Streep, clearly done up – make up, hair and botox – to match the news and political head figures of our realities. Don’t get me wrong, they were excellent in their roles, which is probably why I resented them so much by the end of the movie. And don’t get me started on Leo.

All in all, fun night out, won’t be leaving the sofa for the next two weeks, plenty of time to rewatch The devil wears Prada, Carol and Inception.

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