Film Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Martin Luther King once stated: "Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."
   Not all of us, when faced with an oncoming Armageddon or the end of society as we know it, would be that dignified or show such a resilient, stoic pursuit of moral high-ground. In fact, for many of us, instead of placing seeds in the ground we would perhaps take up injecting heroin whilst listening to Radiohead or embrace orgiastic promiscuity. Or maybe we'd realise our life was a lie and we'd simply run out on our spouse never to see them again
   It is this fate which befalls Dodge (Carrell)  at the beginning of Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World when, upon hearing the news that a meteor will destory the earth in three weeks, his wife simply leaves the car they were sharing, and runs away into the distance. This is the last time Dodge will see her but  which triggers a thought deep inside him; perhaps he too was with the wrong person and that his true love was actually his first, the one that got away.
   Seeking begins to show us a couple of home truths about a world in which nobody has anything to lose. The end of the Earth means that as well as doing things we might not expect of ourselves we may find ourselves doing them with people we would have never imagined experiencing them with either. For some this can mean unrestrained sex with strangers or, on the smaller level of Dodge, it could simply mean befriending someone who seems completely at odds with the type of person you would normally associate with. Dodge is a mid-life, uptight insurance salesman who admits, in one frank moment of honesty, "I regret my life". His solitude as End of Days fast approaches gets broken by the emergence of Penny (Knightley) an English quasi-hipster, whose spontaneity and love of soft drugs represents an approach to life that is polemically at odds with Dodge's. The two, however, realise they can use each other's help in getting to the destinations they intend to spend their final moments - he in the arms of his first love, whom he suspects shares the same intense longing, and she back with her family in England.
   Like The Sure Thing or Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (a film which shares the same scribe as Seeking's writer/director Lorene Scafaria), the movie features an odd couple who are forced together on a road trip in which their experiences will inevitably bring them closer together. Both films share an earnesty of spirit combined with an off-kilter sense of humour too and, whilst neither are perfect, both represent a well crafted alternative to the glut of paint by numbers rom coms that dominate the Hollywood landscape. At points, like all road trips, Scafaria's film meanders in the wrong directions but it's final destination makes the movie, and the whole journey, worthwhile.

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