Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ Review: Carell & Knightley are Fantastic

“The end of the world” has been quite a popular trend in movies these past few years. Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion was about a fatal virus that was spreading quickly enough to take out the entire human race. Lars von Trier’s Melancholia starring Kirsten Dunst, concerned a planet scheduled to collide with Earth, ultimately destroying everything. And most recently, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus featured an entire species that wanted to travel to Earth and eradicate the human population.

So why does Hollywood like exploring “the end of the world” stories so much? My guess is because most audiences find entertainment, intrigue and curiosity on the subject. Plus, an “end of the world” premise is usually tied to an action movie, which brings in big box office dollars.

Out of all the films we’ve seen before including Armageddon, Independence Day, etc., there’s not a doubt in our minds that everything’s going to be OK and life will go on. It’s interesting to come across a film like Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, that truly makes you question what the conclusion of the story will be.

When the film opens, and the world is well aware of the 70-mile wide asteroid, the media has named Matilda and the fact that it is coming for Earth. The media seems to be acting normal and the general public to has strangely come to terms with their ultimate fate. Between the drug-induced parties, people quitting their jobs and flying home to be with their loved ones, it’s a bit unusual to see most people so accepting of the asteroid.

Despite what everyone else is doing, Dodge (Steve Carell) is still playing it safe and attempting to go on with his life, even though his wife (his real better half, Nancy Carell) recently left him. While watching the newscast one day, he sees his neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley) outside his window crying hysterically, having just missed the last of the flights back home to England. Dodge invites her in to his apartment and the two practically become best friends overnight.

Penny, an optimistic free spirit, unlike her sleazy boyfriend Owen (Adam Brody) learns of Dodge’s high school girlfriend and convinces him to find her before Earth’s untimely demise. The two set off on what becomes both an emotional and exciting journey for them.

Carell has a huge range for an actor. From his hilarious performances in Anchorman and The Forty-Year Old Virgin to his more touching roles in Dan In Real Life and Crazy, Stupid, Love, he is one of the best actors working today and is a joy to watch in this film.

Knightley, known for her period films like Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, dulls down her look and proves her ability to be funny in this film! Her and Carell have wonderful chemistry and it’s quite amusing to watch the unlikely pair interact on screen.

Seeking a Friend is certainly not a perfect film, but it truly makes us think “what if?” and the relationship that blossoms between Dodge and Penny is something rare in cinema today.

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