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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
|By Sati.||Wednesday, November 14, 2012||2012, Comedy, drama, Lorene Scafaria, movie, review, Romance, S, sci-fi, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World|
Dodge (Steve Carell) hears the news about the rescue mission, the last hope, failing, in his car. Upon hearing the news his wife runs away. She just opens the doors and runs, without uttering a word. He is left alone. What does he do about the world ending? Nothing. He keeps going to work like he used to. He keeps watching TV. One day he sees his neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley) crying and he invites her in. Penny gives him some misplaced letters that she got that were addressed to him and Dodge finds out his high school sweetheart wrote to him, saying he was the love of her life. Dodge decides to find her and Penny joins him on the journey, determined to fly home to London to see her family, as Dodge knows someone who has a plane.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is one of those unusual end of the world films we have been seeing lately - last year alone we had Melancholia, showing the end from the perspective of two sisters and Perfect Sense where not so much the world, but humanity ended. This one is a romance story and a road trip movie in one - it's a small, subtle film without big effects, without alien invasions. It's filled with the sense of doom and the last attempts at finding happiness. It's quirky and honest, but advertising it as comedy was very misleading - in fact that movie is one of the most heartbreaking films I've seen in a long time.
Dodge finally gathers up the courage to fight and find happiness, but it's only in the face of absolute end. Penny finally decides cruising for life is not the right way to go, but the time is ending for all of the people she could possibly be happy with. Though there are many adorable and funny moments in the movie and the unlikely companions are joined by the cute dog named Sorry, watching the film repeatedly felt us if someone was punching me in the heart. Even when Penny and Dodge share sweet and happy moments they have tears in their eyes because they know how little time they have left.
The odd pairing of Steve Carell and Keira Knightley works amazingly well in the movie. Their characters are very alone in their own way - Dodge doesn't really have any friends and even at the parties he hides in the bathroom avoiding contact with people. Penny changes boyfriends constantly without really feeling anything deeper to any of them. One of the problems is that these two don't really take the time to really get to know others and connect with them. But when they are forced to spend time together on the road trip, the bond between them is created. And it grows stronger with each moment.
In normal circumstances, if these two had another options or more time, perhaps their feelings wouldn't survive. But all that matters is that in the end, they were both happy. Because they didn't have to think about the future or worry about them getting tired or bored with each other. Because that, then, there, is all they had. The unlikely romance between the two is very sweet and tender and surprisingly so - really convincing. You root for these two to be together, no matter how different they may seem. The film has a lot of heartwarming moments and its ending is one of the better conclusions to film I've seen in a very long time.
The script provides both Penny and Dodge with wonderful lines and Dodge saying "you are my favorite, favorite thing" to Penny is one of the most charming movie lines I've heard. Though Keira Knightley plays lively and charming character very well, it is Steve Carell who completely steals the spotlight here. He is so good either being a lovable idiot, like in The Office, or a loser who can't find love and happiness and you root for because, well, he is just so pitiful and good guys deserve better. He is the latter here - this ordinary guy with a good heart - something which isn't ordinary at all. The final scene of the movie was so beautiful because of his courage and his kindness and Carell portrayed that splendidly.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is far from perfect - many times I had a feeling that the writer didn't really know what to do with this story, which at times leads the characters into strange situations that fortunately have some big pay off to them - like the whole shelter/Penny's friend's story which ended with her making a call home - one of the most beautiful scenes of the film. The film will make you cry, but it will also make you smile. It's not a laugh out loud comedy, but a charming little film. And if the world ends, I hope we will get to experience it the same way Dodge and Penny did - with someone we love.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012, 101 min)
Plot: As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Writer: Lorene Scafaria (screenplay)
Stars: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Martin Sheen, Connie Britton and Melanie Lynskey