There have been dozens of world disaster movies over the last twenty years about the end of the world as we know it. Some common ones are that we did it to ourselves/global warming films like The Day After Tomorrow, robots smarter than their creators like the Terminator series, alien invasions such as Independence Day, the dead rising up from the ground (any zombie movie), and even a meteorite heading straight towards Earth like Armageddon. These films have become increasingly popular as we near the inevitable date of December 12, 2012 where according to the Mayan calendar the world will end. Regardless of your belief about when, how, and/or if the world will end we can all agree that a good apocalyptic movie is hard to come by. They usually all doom and gloom with explosions and mutilations which is exactly why Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a breath of fresh air since it is a romantic/comedy at heart.
A brief synopsis of the plot: Three weeks before a meteorite is destined to obliterate Earth, an insurance salesman named Dodge (Steve Carell) is abandoned by his wife and left feeling empty, not because his wife ran away (literally) but because he desired the first lost love of his life Olivia. Dodge is one of the few that still went about his day as he would have had there been no meteorite until he befriend a neighbor he saw but never bother to get to know named Penny (Keira Knightley). When their apartment is threatened by destructive citizens Dodge and Penny (along with Dodge’s new adopted dog, Sorry) flee on a promise that if Penny can get Dodge to Olivia he will get her to someone with a plane to fly her home to England. Here is the trailer:
As I mentioned earlier, this is not your run of the mill end of the world movie. Lorene Scafaira has crafted a very unique film with that shows something that I feel has been missed in many of these apocalyptic movies. Most focus on the extremes of everyone going crazy, doing things that they would never have done otherwise but Seeking a Friend for the End of the World also shows people going about their day like business as usual some even going as far as a hit man to take themselves out so they didn’t have to see the world end. In my opinion this is the most accurate portrayal of how people would really act meaning you are going to have a lot of people engaging in mayhem but also people that act like nothing is wrong which makes for a bunch of hilarious and awkward moments in the movie that is carried by the dialogue.
What is said by characters are things everyday people would say and never feels forced. Steve Carell is just the perfect modest guy next door Dodge that just goes about his day, acting as dodge normally acts. But what really makes the movie is Keira Knightley as the free spirited Penny. This sort of character could make or break a movie break you do not want her to be too care-free or else they would become annoying and Knightley got it just right as Penny. Yes Penny smokes weed, a promiscuous past, has hypersomnia, and is friendly with strangers but is actually a much deeper character than a free spirit. Whenever there is discussion of her family back home and her upbringing there is so much heart to her character you get lost in the movie. Plus all the minor characters from Dodge’s friends played by Connie Britton and Rob Corddry (“Fight threw the burn!” was probably my favorite line of the movie) to people Dodge and Penny encounter on their journey played by William Petersen and T.J. Miller.
Overall, a very fun change of pace apocalyptic movie that turns into a romanctic/comedy. I give Seeking a Friend for the End of the World an 8/10.