Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

By Sati. Wednesday, November 14, 2012 , , , , , , , , ,

What would you do if you knew that the world will be over in 21 days? Would you have crazy parties where you would do drugs and have a lot of sex? Would you finally go to the places you wanted to see? Would you try to spend as much time as possible with your loved ones? Seeking a Friend for the End of the World shows us the world which is about to end - asteroid Matilda is heading for collision with Earth and it will hit in 21 days.

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

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32 comments:

  1. Great review! I was slightly disappointed with this film, but it does have a number of charming and touching moments that make it worth a look. And I agree that Carell steals this film.

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    1. Thank you! He was so great, I hope he gets to show his talent more often in his future projects.

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  2. I've been meaning to see this for a long time, it sounds pretty good, and I love both actors! I need a good comedy, or better said, not a weird or dramatic movie. I will check this out soon!Great review!

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    1. I'm not sure if it is a good comedy, but it's definetly a good, charming film :) I hope you'll like it!

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  3. Keep hearing good things about this one, yet I am not sure I will like it, not really a fan of either of the leads!!

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    1. I think Carell may win you over with this one, his character is so easy to like.

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  4. Other than the ending (that gif image of it that you featured here is just amazing), the chemistry between Carrel and Keira is the best thing for this movie. Never would I have imagined they'd make a good pairing.

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    1. I was a bit vary when I heard there is a romance angle to the movie but I was amazed at how well it worked, they had very nice chemistry!

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  5. Great review Sati. I was just going to watch this last night and decided on something else entirely. Youve got me wondering about this again though. Originally I was put off by Knightley but I'll still give it chance.

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    1. I think she is good here, it's not one of the best roles or anything but I think she was a good fit for her character. She has some very nice scenes here where she shows off her acting ability.

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  6. I liked this movie much more than I thought I would. It really worked and was one of the more subtle movies of the year that actually had a lot to like. I didn't completely love Knightley and Carrell as a couple but they did work really well together. It was meant to be an odd match so I chalk it up to that. Great review! I'm glad you liked it as much as I did. The soundtrack is excellent as well.

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you liked it! Yeah, I was quite surprised that I wasn't distracted by their pairing, they did a very nice job together. I agree, the soundtrack was just lovely!

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  7. I keep forgetting that this movie came out. I think I'll check it out eventually for Keira Knightley.

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    1. I hope you'll enjoy this one, Keira is very good here.

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  8. Good review Sati. Not a perfect film by any means, but one that was able to make me laugh, make me a bit sad, and a bit happy. However, that sadness starts to really take-over the last-act and it's a bit stand-offish at first, but after awhile, you get used to it.

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    1. Thanks! I agree, it's much sadder in the final act, but the ending was quite lovely and happy, all things considered.

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  9. For some reason, I tried rather hard to see this in the theater. Something about the trailer resonated with me, I suppose. And despite my usual indifference to critics, the reviews weren't very favorable and that derailed my quest.

    I really liked your review, though full disclosure, I started to skim at the end. I promise I'll be back after I've watched it.

    Every now and then I'm up for a good punch to the heart.

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    1. Yeah, the reviews were lukewarm at best but I think this one is really worth seeing, it's a very charming film and it's not overly quirky.

      Thanks! Oh, don't worry about it, I just hope you'll like this one!

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  10. This sounds like something I'd really enjoy, even with its flaws. After all the dark stuff I've been reading and watching lately, I'm up for something charming. :-)

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    1. This one has dark moments too but they are so absurd you laugh them off :) It's certainly charming, even if it can make you cry at times.

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  11. I feel I watched a different film to everyone who loved this one. Oh well. I thought the pairing worked terribly, I don't know why I hated Knightley so much.

    "The film will make you cry, but it will also make you smile." - I wish it did either for me! haha.

    I will agree it's a great concept and does make you think what you would do with your life if the world was about to end! P.S - your reviews are so well written!

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    1. Oooh, sorry you didn't like it! I guess it's different for people, for example apparantly many were moved by Rust and Bone but the film didn't move me at all.

      Thank you so much!

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  12. Great review! I like Keira Knightley here, very different from her typical period/costume flicks. It's nice to see her in something else. Steve Carell was great, as usual!

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    1. Thank you! Keira was indeed very good here, I'm glad she is not only in costume movies anymore.

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  13. I'm quite surprised by Keira's casting in this but I might give it a shot as the premise sounds intriguing and I do like Steve Carrell! Nice review, Sati!

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    1. Oh, if you like Steve you definetly need to see this one!

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  14. Well, I thought it would be better too. But I do love the ending, such a beautiful scene. I still didn't like Keira in it, though it was a little refreshing seeing her in a different role. Adam Brody only appeared in a few scenes, really beard-y too, didn't you notice? Always love Carell. Did you see the director's first film, Nick and Norah's infinite playlist? I love it more than this movie.

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    1. I didn't even notice him, was he her ex boyfriend? I didn't see this one but I like Kat Dannings, so I may give it a try :)

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  15. Wonderful review! I went into this movie not knowing quite what to expect, and as a result it proceeded to knock my socks off and donate them to my house elves. I think you're right - while Keira did a nice job with Penny (why does nice sound like such an insult in this context?) it was Steve's performance as Dodge that really resonated with me. The end had my eyeballs sweating. A great review for a great movie, Sati! :)

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    1. Thank you! Haha, love the socks comment :) Glad to read you liked Steve's work too, I think he may even have a place in my end of the year line up.

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  16. I enjoyed this one. I found it interesting that despite such a bleak setting the film could be so heartwarming. Credit to both actors for their performances. Loved the soundtrack too.

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    1. Glad you liked it! Yes, I was surprised at how heartwaming it was too, really a lovely film.

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