2012 was been prophesised as the so-called “Apocalypse”, and many movies over the past year have really been dipping their fingers into the proverbial honeypot – Seeking a Friend for the End of the World takes a new approach and it ultimately trumps all the rest.
After an attempt to destroy an earth bound meteor fails, the world prepares for the end, but Dodge attempts to live in normality even when his wife leaves him. After finding a letter from his highschool sweetheart, Dodge attempts to reunite with her but the free spirited Penelope throws a spanner in the works and the two end up on a road trip to find their loved ones.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Seeking a Friend is the realistic approach to how the human condition handles the mortality that accompanies annihilation. What we witness is a process over 30 days that begins with endless sexual orgies and bucket list type activities (most of which revolve around narcotics), moves onto all out riots and looting, and finally ends with acceptance of the inevitable, and entertainingly enough, the few that choose to defy it.
The last film I saw that covered this subject was Lars von Triers Melancholia – a movie that is less about the meteor and more about…er sex and depression (his favourited themes by my count). Seeking a Friend has an altogether different approach that is chock full of sentimentallity but lightened up by Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, who share some great chemistry and provide much needed humour – which mostly comes in the form of sarcasm – to what could easily have been a movie engulfed with solemnity and intense self-reflection.
That said, it isn’t a riot (even though there are plenty of those), it’s a great balance between moods and Carell, as always, shows his versatility as a comedy actor that fits in perfectly with the drama crowd. Seeking a Friend’s main drawback is the predictable plot and to be honest I didn’t even mind that – in this instance, one really watches this for the interesting characters and relationships that develop. Even with predictability, the film is paced well and has the fantastic ending that I was hoping for. In the end, we find that it’s not about what we do with our lives, but rather the people that touch us that add true meaning.
Don’t walk into Seeking a Friend with the expectations of a laugh-a-minute comedy, sure Carell brings his comedy chops to the table but that’s just one element of this light hearted dramedy.
The Bottom Line
It’s nice to see an Apocalypse film take a different route from the Michael Bays and Roland Emmerichs – Seeking a Friend for the End of the World isn’t entirely original but it is completely satisfying and absorbing. The film is realised by some memorable dialogue and surprisingly well developed characters and they make the film a pleasure to sit through.