“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is a romantic dramedy starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightly as two neighbors who meet for the first time as the earth faces an impending cataclysm in the form of a massive asteroid on a collision course. With the planet having mere weeks left before it’s obliterated, the two haltingly help each other find their loved ones during the final days.
One-third comedy, one-third romance, and one-third drama, “Seeking a Friend” is an enjoyable indie that’s bound to make audiences think about what’s important in their lives.
When news that humanity’s last hope (an Armageddon-esque shuttle mission to destroy the incoming asteroid) has failed, the Doomsday clock begins. All life on planet Earth has three weeks to live. Immediately upon hearing the news, Dodge’s (Steve Carell) wife gets out of the car and runs away from him. He’s left to face the end of days alone. Routine keeps hold of him for the first handful of days… even though the world around him is beginning to fall apart. People are, understandably, not going to work, having hedonistic parties, and outright rioting.
It’s during this period of turmoil that Dodge meets Penny (Keira Knightly), a neighbor within his building that he’s never met before. The brutal honesty of the impending apocalypse has caused a rift between Penny and her current boyfriend, and she winds up talking to Dodge for comfort. This leads her to admit that she’s had a pile of misdelivered mail for him that she’s been too lazy to return. Within it, Dodge finds a letter from his high school sweetheart, telling him she’s always loved him. When a riot forces he and Penny to hit the road, the two embark on a mission to see the people they love one last time. Dodge wants to find his long-lost love, and Penny wants to find her family.
A bit of a road movie ensues, with plenty of “People living like there’s no tomorrow” comedy throw in to the mix. People do drugs, tell their spouses what they really think or abandon them altogether, have sex with random people, etc. A delusional handful of people absurdly cling to their normal routines.
The movie definitely isn’t entirely a comedy however. In addition to the romantic interests that Dodge and Penny have in others and potentially each other, the movie has a notable dramatic element to it. Given the subject, there are obviously maudlin moments. Surprisingly though, they’re not focused on the cosmic injustice of the planet ending, but rather on the regrets that people have over not having lived their lives differently. It’s certainly thought-provoking watching people faced with certain doom.
Steve Carell is perfect for a character like this. His awkward everyman walks disbelieving through the news initially, but as he slowly comes to acceptance, he truly makes the most of the time he has left. Keira Knightly’s Penny is flighty, but has a good heart, and makes it believable that she’d get Carell’s Dodge to open up, under the circumstances. They worked well together, for me, and added a lot of charm to the film. The movie is also fairly loaded with cameos. I wont spoil all the well-known faces you’ll run across, but there were quite a few notable names playing small roles here, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy seeing them pop up, too.
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is a charming little indie that offers laughs, loves and last rites. I found it an entertaining little movie.