Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
I’ve been a fan of both Steve Carell and Keira Knightley for a long time and it was cool to see the first trailer for this film, featuring both of them. Plus, the basic premise was something I immediately was excited about.
The basic gist is that the world is given about 4 weeks until a meteor destroys it. Steve Carell’s character Dodge struggles with what to do with those last 4 weeks and is adamant about not getting to know anyone new. But then Keira Knightley’s Penny is thrown into his life and everything changes. They go on an adventure together to reclaim past love, find new love, and look for a way that this story could somehow have a happy ending.
I’ve always been fascinated with the blurred line between romance and destruction (see my poetry page) and this film cleverly covers both. Dodge is a relatable character and I’d see myself reacting pretty similarly if faced with the end of the world. Carell is fantastic, bringing the same internal sadness from Little Miss Sunshine and Dan in Real Life, and even Crazy Stupid Love. If you liked movies like those, you’ll likely really enjoy this film as well. The movie also does the smart thing and doesn’t really zoom out to look at the world (much) but really focuses on our two leads and their journey together. Knightley doesn’t really stretch herself much but she does a great job with what’s been given to her.
This isn’t necessarily a sad movie, but the movie doesn’t pull any punches about showing us the realism of the situation, as our leads have to face suicide, homicide, riots, and everything else that people succumb to under this pressure.
There are also some hilarious moments with cameos by comedians Patton Oswalt, Rob Corddry, Adam Brody, Community’s Gillian Jacobs, and CSI‘s William Petersen. It’s a stellar supporting cast, with everyone playing the notes perfectly.
So what doesn’t work?
I go into movies like this and I want to be hit in the gut with the realism of a situation like this. My only complaint is that it felt like there were missed opportunities. It’s the end of the world but I felt like our characters never really resolved anything. But maybe that’s the point right? And I was satisfied at the end, but the lack of a huge emotional punch is the only thing holding me back from giving this movie 5/5.
I’m a sucker for kind-of depressing indie movies like this but it likely won’t appeal to the huge mainstream audience (or maybe I’m not giving them enough credit). But if you’ve liked Carell’s other ventures into the indie film territory, you’ll likely enjoy this as well. Or if you’re fascinated with the idea of “What would I do with four weeks left to live?”, you might find that this movie offers up some cool perspectives and things to think about.