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Everyone knows about the calm that happens before the storm. In
"Seeking A Friend for the End of the World", what's amazing is just how
long that calm lasts.
Throughout the first part of this film, you can't help but wonder, as you watch, how you would react if you heard nonchalant reports on radio and TV about a 70-mile wide asteroid heading for Earth and destroying life as we know it. Would you seek refuge in a fallout shelter and hope for the best, or say "To hell with it!" and do all the things you couldn't do when there was established order with a purpose?
Dodge (Steve Carell) seems to find a third option no one else even tries to consider: sitting calmly and maintaining his own order as virtually everyone else is participating in an orgy or a riot. While being calm works for him as a survival instinct, it also reflects his loneliness. The more people surrounding him, the lonelier he seems.
Very similar to Bill Murray's character in "Lost In Translation", Carell is great at conveying so much despite doing so little. It becomes all the more fascinating when he's the only character in the movie who does not throw caution into the wind. After all, would you be this calm if the world was going to end?
Keira Knightley is Penny, a vibrant but distraught British woman who lives in the same building as Dodge. She appears one night outside his window, and is frantically crying after her realization that she can't fly back home to Great Britain to see her family. Knightley serves as a great contrast to Carell in many ways, and she is a welcome presence in this movie. And I am SO glad the film didn't try to cover her sweet British accent.
The film evolves into a sort of road-trip movie when a riot ensues outside their apartment building, and Dodge persuades Penny to drive to Somerset, Delaware because he knows someone who owns an airplane. As it turns out, Dodge also had a high school girlfriend who wrote to him a few months earlier, before his wife left him.
Sounds like a familiar journey from another movie? Well, "Seeking A Friend For The End of the World" takes you in one direction you think you're going, and then often makes a sharp left when you least expect it. The movie is also funnier than the title suggests, has some startling moments I never saw coming nor expected, and keeps you watching for many reasons.
Is there a love story between Dodge and Penny? Like the recent "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" (2012), you find yourself unsure if the two main characters should fall in love, or if there is at least a little attraction, or if it really makes any difference.
There are other things you wonder while watching this movie. Most notably, is the world really going to end? Everyone in this movie seems to think so. While it's fascinating to see how different characters react to the news, you keep watching because you want to see if it really does. It can't be a dream or a delusion, can it?
It's great that in a summer season of action flicks and disaster films, there's one film that takes its time showing how ordinary people react to extraordinary things. There's an asteroid headed towards Earth, but there are no explosions, deaths, astronauts, superheroes, or even (surprisingly) camera shots of the sky in this movie whatsoever. Moviegoers who hated "Armageddon" (1998) will be relieved, I'm sure.
Besides Carell and Knightley, other fairly well-known actors show up so briefly, their appearances could practically be considered cameos. Still, every performance by everyone involved stays with you to the point where you probably pinpoint one character and say, "Yeah, I'd probably be THAT guy given the circumstances". As the doomsday clock counts down and the movie ends, you may find yourself reevaluating what you want the last image in your mind to be before it's all over.
We've seen dramatic and extreme post-apocalyptic thrillers almost as
many times as we've survived the Rapture, and it is hard to imagine
that anyone can interpret the theme in a way that would make a movie
more enjoyable. However, none of the previous films starred Steve
Carrell or stayed completely in the pre-apocalyptic world. As it turns
out, these two facts make a huge difference.
Dodge (Carrell) learns that nothing can be done to prevent the imminent destruction of the world while in the car with his wife, Linda (Nancy Carrell, formerly Nancy Walls and hilarious without saying a word). Linda then literally runs away, and so begins the story of Dodge's terrible misfortune. He is a modern-day adult version of Charlie Brown likable, but not extraordinary in any sense except for his ability to attract sadness. Seeking then shows how everyone else is coping with the news, and Dodge doesn't seem very interested in surfing, sex, or suicide, so he just meanders through the madness sipping his cough syrup. He probably would have done that for the entire three weeks left of his life were it not for a his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley), a flighty girl trying to get a flight back to her family in England. The two escape a riot (and Penny's loser boyfriend, perfectly played by Adam Brody) and set out on an adventure so that Dodge can say goodbye to his high school sweetheart and Penny can get to England by way of Dodge's friend who owns a plane.
The commercials portray this film as more of a comedy, and it is delightfully funny in some spots, but this film is far more emotionally and intellectually stimulating than it is amusing. I remember thinking at the end of 2005's War of the Worlds, "I wish they had spent more time focusing on humanity." The human experience of facing the end of life is so complex and so unique to every individual, and Director Loren Scafaria succeeds in showing the despair, decadence, and delusions that people would definitely be wrapped up in were this to occur in real life.
Carrell is brilliant as usual with his effortless self-effacing humor. He seems to have worked on his deadpan skills as his funniest moments include reacting to crazy events with a blank stare or monotone comment. Knightley manages to be an effervescent and bubbly realist without being annoying, which makes Penny a completely plausible running buddy for Dodge, who can't take much more agitation. These two stars have a chemistry that allows Dodge to come out of his shell and live the last days of his life the way he wished he had lived all along. A few people live in less inspiring ways to awesome comedic effect. Elsa, Dodge's housekeeper, still diligently comes to clean his house and even instructs him to get more "Windows" while shaking a nearly empty bottle of glass cleaner. Warren (fellow Daily Show alum Rob Corddry) celebrates the end of responsibility by boozing it up and sharing his drinks freely, even with little kids. These scenes, however, are merely distractions from how Dodge and Penny learn more than they ever imagined about life and the world simply because it is all coming to an end. Despite the hokey-ness, I must admit that I got teary-eyed as the characters realized what matters most.
Focus Features does a great job of producing equally thought-provoking and heartstring-pulling films and Seeking is no exception. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and with any luck, you'll leave the theater thankful that you most likely have more than three weeks to make the most of your life.
It's rare that I rate a movie this highly. No doubt many will disagree
with this rating and I admit to having some doubts myself. I had to
ignore the fact that Keira Knightly was miscast in the role of Dodge's
(Steve Carell) friend, Penny. As I've mentioned in other reviews, she
always seems to be overacting. This may be a personal thing as I'm sure
others are enthralled by her work. Martin Sheen is not convincing as
Dodge's father. The plot has some problematic moments.
These negatives aside, this is a movie driven by a compelling idea: What would you do if you had only three weeks to live? Well, some resort to taking drugs, others to sex, and others to suicide. Some persevere with dignity to the end. The absurdity of life and the value of death is highlighted, as strange as this may sound. Death puts life into its proper perspective. On the surface, this film has many elements of a romantic comedy and some may dismiss it as such. But look past the surface of this film and you will begin to appreciate it much more.
Of course, we are all facing the end of our own worlds, maybe not in three weeks or en masse, as is portrayed here, but through our individual mortality. Would you continue to work out, visit your dentist, or mow the lawn if you knew it was all soon coming to an end? Basically, the film looks at what in life is truly important. What is worth living for? Who would you want to spend those last moments with and why aren't you spending time with them now? Because this movie brings such existential topics into focus, I think it deserves an above average rating. Don't think of this as a grim, realistic look at life. There is a good deal of humor here. You'll have a few laughs, which, I believe, help to highlight the film's more serious elements.
My opinion of Steve Carrell has been on the rise ever since he starred in Dan in Real Life. In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, he plays the role of a down and out loser to perfection.
In short, if you are seeking a movie to watch with a friend, this should be your choice. You'll have much to discuss afterwards. It may even make you re-evaluate what you have accepted as being important. Time is, after all, running out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Seeking a Friend of the End of the World" is an end of the world drama that really makes you think about what you would do if you had only a few weeks to live. With strong dialogue, likable characters, and clever jokes, this film shows you that there can be good things to come out of a bad situation. The movie begins with Dodge (Steve Carell) sitting in his car and hearing that the mission to save mankind has failed and in approximately three weeks the 70 mile wide asteroid is going to hit Earth. Upon this news Dodge's wife leaves him and Dodge considers what he is going to do with his final days of his life and the past regrets he has. He soon meets Penny (Keira Knightley) and they decide to embark on adventure that hopefully lead Dodge to find a girl from his past and for Penny to see her family before the their time runs out. This movie was well made. The writers did a great job with mixing comedy in a movie that has a depressing feel to it. There were good jokes throughout the movie, mostly sarcasm but well planned. The pace of this movie was slow, but it necessarily isn't a bad thing. There were really good dialogue scenes where Dodge and Penny have conversations about themselves and their pasts and it really make the audience care about these characters. That being said, the characters were developed well and Steve Carell and Keira Knightley's performances were great as well as their chemistry. I really enjoyed this movie. I really prefer Steve Carell in these types of these dramatic movies mixed with light comedy like Dan in Real Life and Little Miss Sunshine. This movie isn't a film that will dominate the box offices but it is one of the better movies of 2012 and I highly recommend this movie. 4 out of 5.
Armageddon, doomsday, the final apocalypse. Ever since the beginning of time man has wondered how it will all end. Another great flood, a nuclear war or in this case an asteroid. Filmmakers have always done their best to exploit this basic fear we have of the termination of our existence in movies like Fail Safe, On The Beach and The Day After. I put this film right up there with them because of the awesome performances of Steve Carell and Keira Knightley as our hero and heroine who we know are doomed from the start. I have always admired Carell as a comic (Get Smart, Date Night). However, he proves here that he can handle drama with the rest of them as does Knightley. They both have very powerful monologues in this film where they talk of their lonely lives. Its so ironic that they both find joy and love in life when they are on the very edge of death.
I found seeking a friend to be an excellent movie though I didn't expect much after reading the storyline. The truth is I love Keira and maybe this is why I enjoy her every movie. The movie develops brilliantly as the main characters find their true love. We are all trying to find love and probably this is the genuine meaning of life itself. Also, I found Steve's performance really good as he managed to balance Keira's childish character and put a serious mark on the whole apocalyptic idea (though he is well-known for being a buffoon in his movies). The ending left me in tears, but maybe that's just me being silly. I would certainly recommend it ! One for the romantics !
There really isn't one aspect of the actual events of this story that
isn't some kind of spoiler, the less known the better. It's better to
watch this thing completely fresh. That's how I saw it and it made the
experience far better it would seem. Without getting in to detail, the
story itself starts off bizarre and it seems like they simply picked
the wrong subject to try and make a dramedy about. Yet, getting to know
and sympathize with Carell's character is what flat out makes the film.
Keira Knightley is wonderful and this is probably the best thing I've
ever seen her do.
The overall tone fights itself a LOT as it jumps from the morose to the absurd to events that just aren't logical. Still, since no one has faced the end of the world, what exactly is logical? They did respectfully touch on the aspect of faith but it struck me more that they went out of their way to avoid the subject for the most part. To me, that's playing it way too safe. They did that a lot with many subjects that you would expect to come up in an end of days film. Overall, the movie has heart and elicited real emotion from me.
Actually I had expected this to be somewhat more of a comedy, but it
turned out to be a much better experience than just another average
comedy. "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" turned out to be a
very beautiful and emotional movie, with just a pinch of great comedy
added to spice it up.
The story is about the end of days approaching as an asteroid is bound for Earth, and will destroy the planet upon impact. Dodge (played by Steve Carell) finds himself abandoned by his wife upon this news and tries to go on with his life for the last 21 days before the world comes to end. He gets acquainted with a downstairs neighbor, Penny (played by Keira Knightley) whom he haven't talked with for the past 3 years of living in the same apartment building. These two very different spirits end up on a road trip together to get Dodge to his high school girlfriend and get Penny aboard an airplane for Great Britain. Their journey proves to be more than life changing.
The storyline for "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" was really great, and bizarre wonderful in a weird way. There is this whole gloomy downtrodden feel to it as people are trying to cope with coming to terms with life ending within 3 weeks. But at the same time, there is such a strong emotional journey taking place as we follow Dodge and Penny on their path to their destinations. The movie is driven by great characters and by superb acting. There is just the right amount of absurd and dark comedy to this movie that helps build up the right atmosphere.
I was genuinely surprised by this movie. I knew that it wouldn't be a horrible movie, because Steve Carell usually delivers great performances and do good comedy. But his deliverance in this movie was just phenomenal. He was so well-cast for this movie. As was Keira Knightley, and their chemistry on the screen was just sizzling.
The movie also boasts some rather great cameo appearances, all of whom really helped adding to the movie, by actors and actresses such as Rob Corddry, Patton Oswalt, William Petersen and, of course, Martin Sheen.
"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" is a definite to-watch-movie for any movie aficionado, because it is very beautiful and moving in many ways. I am really happy that I sat down to watch this movie. And to top it off, this is the type of movie that leaves you with a parting gift, something to think about; what would you do if you only had 21 days left before the world ended?
Oh, and as a final note, if you are prone to tear in beautiful movies, you might keep a tissue at hand for the ending of this movie. Just a word of advice.
I totally enjoyed this movie. I only wish it could have been released at a better time(if that's possible) or re-released at a slower time. It seems there are far too many movies released these days. Most people only want to see action movies. I'll take this movie over Batman, Spiderman and others any day. What would you do if the end of the world was going to happen in twenty-one days? Like I said in the subject line, it deserved better at the box office. I adore Kiera Knightley, she is a doll. Her and Steve do a wonderful job in this movie. I will be buying it on DVD and watch it many times over. A great movie in my opinion. Enjoy!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Seeking A Friend For the end of the World' is one of those movies that
people are going to love or hate, as you can already see from the
division on Metacritic. I fall into the first camp, loving it, so I'd
better say something in its defense.
Let me get the spoiler out of the way first. The picture does not cheat on its premise. There is no miracle salvation for the earth at the end. The promised apocalypse actually occurs.
But what occurs in the movie is a unique, and absolutely devastating love story. Despite the starkness of the background, the relationship of the two characters is developed with remarkable subtlety over the first two thirds of the movie. Its progress takes place in the background of the picture, while the foreground is given over to a display of the various all too human reactions to the impending doom - from absolutely inauthentic suburban hedonism, desperate lawlessness, suicide, clinging to the last vestiges of normalcy, grim survivalism. Some of this is very funny, some touching.
Steve Carrell's character Dodge doesn't exactly know what he wants, but he knows full well what he doesn't want - none of the above. His quiet refusal to acquiesce to any of this makes him instantly likable. He adopts an abandoned dog because he's too decent not to, and takes up with Penny (Keira Knightley) almost by chance. They meet cute, in a way, but with none of the emotional affectation of bad rom coms - neither angry nor incandescent - 'like at first sight', if you will. They leave the city together, not for any large motive, but because it seems like the best idea available.
But in one superbly dialogued scene after another, the relationship takes on depth, then overwhelming substance, It is only in the last third of the movie that it reveals itself to be a full fledged love story, that the bonding of these two is what the movie is all about in the first place.
The last scenes take place at the last hours of the earth. The girl is committed, but scared. But the man, Dodge, is so happy to have finally found someone with whom he connects completely that he really doesn't care that the whole world is ending. Carrell, whose performance is Oscarworthy (though of course it will go unnoticed) conveys this perfectly.
A marvelous movie.
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