“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is a funny heartwarming tale with an indie-movie feel in that it tells the story effortlessly and doesn’t try too hard, with a sincere but dryer form of humor. A lot of movies seem to package up a resolution in a nice and neat package by the end of the film, but it was clear very early on this movie might not resolve that way.
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. The basic plot revolves around Dodge (Carell) and the rest of the world learning of the coming apocalypse via an asteroid set to collide with Earth in three weeks. Upon hearing the news, Dodge’s wife leaves him, thus setting him off to spend his final days alone.
I’m a big Carell fan and he definitely doesn’t disappoint in this movie. Don’t go expecting Michael Scott, his character in “The Office,” or Brick from “Anchorman.” Instead, expect a lovable, understandably sarcastic, downtrodden but hopeful character more like the one he played in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”
Knightley enters into Dodge’s life by half-accident as Penny, a 20-something recently-single wanderer.
Knightley’s portrayal of a free spirit makes the pairing of the much older Dodge and Penny work, as odd as that sounds. Anytime you pair up a man and a woman in a movie there is almost always romantic tension. “Seeking a Friend” is no different and tension is the perfect word to describe it.
Carell nails his performance in this movie. I really was engaged in how he portrayed Dodge’s character as well as the storyline. I’m a sucker for hope but even more so hope that comes from hopelessness and Carell does that so subtly well.
At moments, the movie seems a little over the top with its end-of-the-world partying and in other ways it portrays society’s behavior as the end nears. There are gaps and flaws in the story but if you don’t get hung up on little things, you won’t miss the point.
When the movie ended, I had been sniffling and wiping back a tear or two for about 10 minutes or so, but the people a few rows in front of me stood up and said, “What a terrible movie.”
So maybe this movie isn’t for everyone. Maybe it is not the road trip buddy comedy you might want it to be but that doesn’t mean it isn’t introspective and thoughtful.
The movie climaxes hours before the asteroid is set to hit, with Dodge trying to find his old flame and Penny trying to find her way home. What happens is gripping and real.
All in all, the film moved me in a way many films attempt to, and did it in a way I wasn’t expecting. Anytime you leave a theater and want to drive home with the radio off and reflect, you know there’s something to it.
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