Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
  • Time: 101 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
  • Director: Lorene Scafaria
  • Cast: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Melanie Lynskey


An asteroid named “Matilda” is on a collision course towards Earth and in three weeks the world will come to an absolute end. What would you do if your life and the world were doomed? One man decides to spend his time searching for his long lost love from high school during the coming catastrophe.


  • “Put on some Radiohead… I want to do heroin to Radiohead.”

    The first 30 minutes I had to persevere and restrain myself not to hit the off-button. Everything indicated that it would be a romantic comedy, where the comic part felt pretty fake. I really can’t remember me smiling in that first half hour. Maybe when Dodge’s wife runs of because of his irritating dry remark about missing a turn after the news was announced that within a few days the earth would be as flat as a fig and those walking on it too of course. Afterwards I realized it was indeed funny. That woman suddenly decided it was better to spend her last days doing some calisthenics with her (I suppose) lover, then being accompanied by that dry, neurotic and unpleasant dullard.

    But then it turned into a more subtle whole, with deeper meanings, symbolism and questions about life. The humor got more refined and subtle. Many chuckle moments for me, when dry yet thoughtful humor creeps into such a melodramatic story. For instance the part where Dodge tells Penny about his wife and Olivia, ending with the quote “The rest is almost history” …. The word “almost” made me laugh again . And there are more things like that in this movie. Eventually I was empathizing (Geezz, didn’t think I would ever do that … with a movie), and I truly enjoyed this satirical depressing story. The trucker who’s shot down by a “hitman”, the dog that was tied to Dodge when he lost consciousness after an overdose of cough syrup in the park, Penny’s friend in his titanium bunker, the sheriff who’s uncompromising until the end and takes them into custody, the cleaning-lady who thinks she’s fired. And then it gets mawkish and you see those two people growing to each other and fall in love … duh. I would do that too in those last days if I was alone. Secretly I was hoping in the end that it all would be a mistake and that the comet would miss earth at the last minute. But it ends in a flash … And then I thought, “Damn, what a wonderful movie”

    The only negative thing I could come up with was the over-expressive facial expressions of Keira Knightley at times. Sometimes it seemed as if she laughed, cried and smelled a rancid omelet made ​​of rotten eggs, simultaneously in one expression. Awful to see and annoying. I can’t remember her using those expressions in “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Obviously she had to use it in “A dangerous method”, but that came with the character she played and it suited well in that movie. Probably she was enrolled because of that.

    Steve Carell on the other hand was constantly dull and dead serious. Only at the end he thawed a little. But I’m glad he wasn’t that ADHD character as the newscaster in “Bruce Almighty”. Although that scene made him surpass Jim Carrey for a moment. Carell is probably (next to Carey) one of those few comedians that I like and keeps performing on the same level. At least he doesn’t get on my nerves all the time like some comedians !

    Conclusion: I highly recommend this movie if you’re in a sentimental and serious mood. Are you in a dip, then avoid this like the plague because it doesn’t really make you happy again.

  • “This ain’t the Ark. It’s the Titanic!”

    End-of-the-world films don’t get any less spectacular than this, but it is precisely why Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is one of year’s surprise packages, an insightful look at what makes us human, when humanity is on the verge of being destroyed forever.

    The film is an apocalyptic feature disguised as a romantic-comedy with serious dramatic material. Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, the unlikeliest of screen couples that you will see this year, take their characters on a journey that gives them hope despite the impending doom.

    That doom will be caused by an asteroid that will hit Earth in a matter of weeks. And that doom has served up a host of thought-provoking ideas that writer-director Lorene Scafaria (who wrote the screenplay for Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)) explores in the film.

    What would you do, or for that matter, what would anyone or everyone do, when faced with the prospect of collective death? Some party as if it’s the end of the world (well, they do get their wish), others return home to their families, while some prefer to be meditating alone to the sounds of that old vinyl record that they first bought in high school.

    Carell’s character, Dodge, is a lonely person. His wife leaves him in a panic in the film’s prologue sequence. He finds solace in… himself, that is, until his neighbour, Penny (Knightely) whom he has never met, sobs uncontrollably at his window sill. Is this the start of an unlikely friendship? Perhaps an unlikely romance?

    Seeking a Friend for the End of the World takes the ingredients of a conventional boy-meets-girl romantic-comedy, and spins it into a creative, unpredictable story. Scafaria tells her story with subtle dialogue, and composed imagery. It feels like a minimalist excursion, but it is still a fine emotional ride, with excellent laughs in store.

    Knightley’s acting is splendid, and surprisingly combines very well with Carell’s straight-faced impersonation of himself. Mainstream viewers may find the film too melancholic. It is always depressing to see the world end, and especially so, when time is so short… to say your goodbyes, to find your one true love, to forgive and forget, and to relive and remember.

    Seeking a Friend for the End of the World eschews spectacularity for a more intimate look at the fragility of human relationships. In the end, that is what matters. Do give this excellent indie offering a try.

    Verdict: An understated and melancholic romantic-comedy that hits the mark, this is one of the year’s surprise packages.

    GRADE: A-

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