Sunday, 7 July 2013

Film Review: Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

About the film
Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World is a comedy/ drama film that was released in 2012. The film has a run time of 101 minutes and is rated 15.

A 70 mile wide asteroid called Matilda is on a collision course with Earth and it has failed to be destroyed. In only three weeks, the world will end.

While sitting with his wife, Dodge hears the announcement. While he worries about a number of things, his wife quickly runs away, leaving him all alone. Unlike many other people he knows, Dodge still goes back to his insurance sales job the very next day and his life remains pretty much the same. Penny, who lives in the same building as Dodge breaks up  with her boyfriend after he makes her miss the flight back to England where her family are. After Dodge comforts Penny and gives her a place to stay for the night, she gives him the three years’ worth of mail that she kept forgetting to give him.

After reading a letter from his high school sweetheart and her confession of love dated three months earlier, Dodge and Penny embark on a road trip. He lets her know that he may know someone who can get her to England and her family if only she will help him get to the love of his life first. In a scary situation, these two people quickly become unexpected friends.

What I thought
When I saw the trailer for this film a good while back now, I was instantly interested. Both Kiera Knightley and Steve Carell are actors who I usually associate with particular kinds of films but with this film, it seemed as though they were both breaking out of their stereotypical roles.

Steve Carell’s character, Dodge, really gets a bad deal even when the world is about to end. As he hears the announcement when sat in the car with his wife, she decides she has better things to spend her time doing and she leaves him all alone. It wasn’t hard to feel sorry for Dodge and as the beginning of the film goes on, it doesn’t get any better for him. He decides to still go to work in his extremely boring job because he has nothing better to do, he sits around watching his friends doing an insane amount of drink and drugs and generally having the time of their lives. Unlike his friends, Dodge doesn’t see the point in going crazy even though the world is about to end.

Carell does a fantastic job as Dodge. He’s very down about life in general and he doesn’t have much going on in his life. Although used to playing a guy who doesn’t do so well in life (like The 40 Year Old Virgin) he also normally plays characters who use quite obvious comedy moments to get laughs. However, in this film, I think the comedy with Dodge came from more understated moments and scenes that were far from expected from me. He’s awkward in not only his actions and decisions but also in the way he sees himself. He doesn’t really believe in himself at all and when he meets Penny, everything really begins to change for Dodge, especially his outlook on life.

Although they have lived in the same building for years, Dodge and Penny have never spoken… not until the night she breaks up with her boyfriend and needs a place to crash. It turns out that Penny has accidentally kept Dodge’s mail for the past three years which included a letter from his high school sweetheart. Playing Penny is Keira Knightley, an actress best known for period drama films more than anything else. As Penny, Knightley takes up the role as a slightly flaky girl who doesn’t care about much other than her record collection. Knightley plays this quirky yet funny girl really well and I was really surprised to like her so much in this film. I usually find her quite bland due to her playing the same kinds of roles but here, she does something different and definitely not stereotypical for her.

This is a film with a really interesting premise. It made me think about the world ending in such a short period of time and what I would try to get done if that were the case. While both Dodge and Penny have things they want to do and people they want to see the film also sheds light on what other people’s actions may be like. Some people go wild, sleep around and take drugs but for others, the panic sets in. There are riots, robberies, fights and vandalism etc. Pretty much, the whole world goes into panic mode and everyone acts kind of crazy.

Even though the plot is one that could have been really depressing, it actually wasn’t so much. Once Dodge and Penny meet, things begin to look up for both of them. Each character is in a dark and rough place by the time they meet and they really do find a strange friendship within each other.  The film follows Dodge trying to get to his high school sweetheart to confess his love before the world ends while Penny is trying to find a plane that can take her back to her family in England. Their road trip provides many comedic moments and also provides a way of the characters getting to know each other more as well as them developing on their own.

Overall, this film was not at all what I was expecting it to be. I loved both main characters and the actors playing them. The story was very different and surprising but very entertaining at the same time. 

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