Seeking A Friend for the End of the World was a movie I avoided for a long time, I mean a long time. Do you have those movies which you come across and the little man in your head tells you that you’d probably really like but for some unknown reason you tell your little man to go to hell and you never watch it? It happens with hyped movies a lot for me, there are so many movies which people rave about but for some strange, more than likely emotionally unhealthy reason, I convince myself that I’ll hate it so I don’t watch it. At least for not a long while afterwards. I’ve got a lot of issues I know.
Sadly Seeking a Friend is one of those films which slipped straight through and onto the keeper. Until recently that is and all I can say now, having finally seen it is, what an absolute gem of a film. It is such a perfect little intimate tale of two lost, broken people who just happen to come together only weeks before an asteroid is due to hit the earth and destroy all life. The story is fairly simple (and yes there is spoilers ahead for anyone who has not yet seen it. But come on man it’s been out for years now so you can’t really gripe if I spoil it for you), the story opens with Dodge, played by the always wonderful Steve Carell, sitting in his car with his wife as they listen on the radio as news comes in that the final solution to the incoming asteroid has failed and in three weeks time all life will cease to be. Looking over at him she realizes that Dodge isn’t the man she wants to spend her last days with and in a panic promptly legs it out of the car and into the night, never to be seen again. Over the next week or so Dodge drifts along in a daze, still going into work as an insurance salesmen (seems even in the end of time people still want to know how much money they can get), attending a painful dinner party at his best friends house which results in an uncomfortable set up and everyone deciding this would be the best time to do heroin.
That is until he meets Penny, Keira Knightley, an English girl who has been living downstairs in his apartment block for the past few years but never has spoken to, though due to extreme laziness or apathy she has been collecting his mail which had from time to time been left in her letterbox mistake. After escaping the city one night when rioting erupts in the streets the two embark on a cross country trip desperate to find some sort of comfort at the end of the world. For Dodge it’s tracking down his childhood sweetheart and for Penny it’s finding a way home to be with her family, you know the story and can probably guess the outcome. For me the magic is in the players, Carell and Knightly work so well together and weave in and out of the side characters (also played by some very well known faces) and look mismatched but so believable as they come together at the end, which is truly the end which was another moment I enjoyed. It would have been so easy to have a happy ending (and it is in a way) but the way the film ends lends a gravity and beauty to these two people who decide that at the end of the world it’s just in each others eyes that they wish to be.
It’s a lonely film, a quietly beautiful film complemented by some great performances. I can’t wait to see it again.