|Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Starring Steve Carell, Keira Knightley
The very idea of the world ending is a potent curiosity for most people. Hell, the idea that the world will end come Dec 21st has been prophesized for how long now? But let’s say that the Mayans are correct and we find ourselves hurtling towards the sun, how would you spend those last precious moments? Sure you may say that you’d spend them humping everything that moves and exploring every possible deviant behavior, but would you really? Would you just spend it with friends and family? Maybe continue with the routine you know as your life to keep things calm in your mind?
That right there is the central theme for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, a movie that doesn’t try to knock you over with some grand original statement, nor become some sobby manipulative tear jerker that would make Nicolas Sparks envious. No, this is a quiet movie with quiet moments and it doesn’t want to be anything else. And because of that, this movie works on a lot of levels. I must also point out that the movies intentions are what you think they might be and with that comes some pretty standard Hollywood clichés. But sometimes when constructing a movie, you have to follow that path, and what makes it work is the stamp the writer and director (in this case Lorene Scarfaria) puts on it…she succeeds.
The main focus of Seeking a Friend is with Dodge (Steve Carrell) who upon learning that an asteroid is heading towards and will ultimately destroy life on earth, watches his wife run away. Dodge tries to maintain his normal life, even as chaos and confusion engulfs everything around him. The other focus is on Penny (Keira Knightley) the prototypical sorta flighty free spirit who has just broken up with her boyfriend. Since these two souls live in the same apartment complex, their paths collide and they both decide to help each other out. Penny wants to help Dodge find his first love and Dodge will help Penny get to a plane so she can see her family one last time.
Without any real struggle, you can pretty much guess what will happen with these two, but the movie isn’t so concerned with a theme about finding your soul mate, I thinks it’s more about making a connection with someone when there aren’t too many connections to be had anymore. Both Carrell and Knightley shine in their respective roles. The movie also does a good job of giving you little moments of people acting their irriational, deviant or normal selves knowing that the world is coming to an end. It’s doesn’t dwell on these moments which is good…efficiency rocks people.
The mix of drama and comedy are another bright spot with this movie, never trying to beat you over the head with either, most of it feels natural. The only real complaint I would have is the direction of Dodge and Penny. Like I said, you can pretty much guess where it is headed, but it feels a little forced and maybe taking the relationship down a different path would’ve been a wiser choice. And the ending suffers a bit because of it. Make no mistake though, this movie doesn’t throw in the “Oh hey guess what, the world is saved” bullshit, no the intention is the world is ending and the movie sticks with that.
Sadly, this movie is probably going to get lost with the summer movie crowd. But I recommend you go check it out before it makes its exit. It has its moments and those moments shine bright.