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

 

Seeking that special someone to spend the rest of the world’s days with…

 

A road trip with Keira Knightley and Steve Carell – with a supporting cast of many – as the end of days approaches as they journey to be with the ones they love.

 

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World-Official Trailer,seekingafriendMOVIE , http://www.youtube.com

 

For one of the most charmingly sweet and touchingly believable, big screen chemistries with the possibly the most thought out soundtrack since Somewhere in Time (1980), you really can’t get better than this film. In this movie, Seeking A Friend for the End of the World (2012) our leading lady is an English rose of an actress, usually in dramas set in centuries gone by and possibly involving a corset. He is a much praised, award-winning comedy actor and typically found with a hopeless love life (or hopeful).  But with both these diverse acting talents, Keira Knightley and Steve Carell come together in this comedy-drama, apocalyptic tale. This in a surprisingly heart warming and utterly memorable on-screen partnership and supported by some familiar comic faces.

The film starts with a radio announcement telling of how man’s last hope has been destroyed with the day to end all days, now imminent in three weeks. This as a space shuttle failed to stop an incoming enormous asteroid, which is now headed to Earth. On Earth, Dodge (Carell) and his wife, Linda (Nancy Carell,  Carell’s off-screen wife) hear the news in their car. Linda flees from the car in horror at his unsettling reaction to this news. As Dodge is left alone, with his indifference to the upcoming events.

After the in film graphics tell us there 21 days to go til the end of the world, a TV news report is seen on TV and read by TV anchorman (Mark Moses). As Dodge continues his daily routine of work, sleep and ready meals. However he is shaken as a lifeless body falls on his car.

At 14 days to go, there are traffic jams everywhere, with luckily no Emma Stone and her La La Land (2016) cast members singing and dancing about it. We see how the near future Armageddon affects Dodge’s life as an insurance salesman. Be it his chance for that always wanted promotion at work (as everyone who is anyone leaves) to selling new policies to customers to cover the impending disaster. Dodge is told by Diane, his friend Warren’s wife that Linda was unhappy in their marriage. Dodge’s cleaner continues her job too, despite his convoluted encouragement to spend her final days with her family.

He attends a party at his friends Warren and Diane (Rob Corddry and Connie Britton). There he observes others (spot Amy Schumer and Melanie Lynskey) making plans for their limited future be it telling relatives their true feelings or taking drugs or holding orgies. His friends’ underaged children get drunk and several women, including Diane, make passes at him during the evening. These scenes and others’ shameless attitudes almost sicken him. Dodge returns home alone, and rifling through his box of memories, he finds and plays a harmonica. Then he reflects on his life and remembering his first true love, Olivia. He spots his next door neighbour Penny (Knightley) crying outside his window on the fire escape, in the dark.

He invites her in, and they open up to each other about their respective sad love stories.  She tells him of her relationship break up. She is tearful that she chose to be with her now ex-boyfriend, Owen over being with her family at home in England. She tells how because of Owen, she missed the last plane to return home to them. Dodge tells her of Olivia, his one true love that got away. Penny falls into a deep sleep. The next day Penny gives him some mail of his that was indirectly given to her and she inadvertently tells him of Linda’s affair. Dodge despondent, overdoses on window cleaner and cough syrup in a park.

It’s now 12 days to go, with Dodge waking up in the park and tied to a homeless dog, which he adopts. On returning home, in the unopened letters he finds one from Olivia, telling him he was her one true love. As riots hit his neighbourhood, Dodge vows to find her. With dog in tow, and after meeting Owen at her flat, Dodge rouses Penny from her deep sleep. With the two ex-love birds still bickering, the three head for the car as the riots continue.

After leaving Owen behind in their haste to escape, Dodge promises Penny if she helps him find Olivia, he will help her get a plane to her family in England.  As he knows someone with a plane.  Penny and Dodge then set off on a road trip to Dodge’s home town with revelations, reunions and remarkable encounters with some wonderful characters en route. But as to whether Penny returns home or Dodge finds his true love, that’s for me to know and you to find out… in the usual ways of course.

So my thoughts on this movie, it’s a wonderful pairing for this well written, odd couple movie. On first hearing of this screen partnership before watching the film, I was admittedly more than skeptical. But like other odd couple pairings such as Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves in Somethings Gotta Give (2003) and Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in Trainwreck (2015), I was totally blown away, by how well they matched.

There is an endearing screen chemistry between Carell and Knightley. With both well suited to the their roles, as Dodge the man who plays by the rules in contrast to Penny’s free spirit. You feel their off-beat connection, from their opening scenes until those sadly inevitable credits. Both the leading actor and actress gently encourage each other in their own respective niches. And their on and off-screen rapport and support felt in their joint scenes.

Knightley made her character uniquely hers, with her lovely English accent and a touchingly realistic and a heartrending performance befitting the script. And as an expat, you feel that she showed a great empathy for her character with her family in another country as the asteroid hurtled on its way. I feel I felt this performance showed exactly how I would feel if away from my family in Scotland in such a situation. In a phone conversation with her family Knightley also gave a tender performance and you could feel her heart was broken at not being with them at this time. It was hard not to feel intense sympathy for her character’s predicament. This scene apparently not only got me in tears but also the cast and crew who watched her as she filmed it.

Carell in his initial appearances at the start compared with where Dodge warmed to Penny were wonderfully acted. His unspoken words but facial expressions as Dodge developed more intense feelings for Knightley’s character were a marked change to those with his screen wife. In contrast to these, his later scenes with Martin Sheen (playing Dodge’s estranged father) were well written in respect to these characters, their histories and the impending disaster. His more dramatic scenes with Knightley were played tenderly and sincerely, and on occasion his characters dry humour shone through complementing rather than detracting from the drama.

Although Carell and Knightley’s on-screen pairing rightly dominated the storyline, it was a nice touch showing the reactions of other individuals to the news of the impending disaster. These almost snapshots of their lives, showed their reactions to the asteroid,  in healthy and unhealthy ways.  These seen their spoken script where a friend becomes honest and tells Dodge about his wife’s unhappiness. Or their actions, with his friend buying expensive cigars. Or as shown in unspoken ways,  with one of the pair’s acquaintances shown to have an overabundance of food.

There were those people who became more reckless, such as a nurse applying a tourniquet for injecting drugs at a wild party. And Dodge’s cleaner and some offside  restaurant workers who continued their working roles until the end helping others. In the latter, another nice touch was the use of updates to the impending disaster, using a TV news programme. And all the characters, easily struck the balance of drama and comedy.

In the supporting cast it was lovely to spot a few more well-known faces as the pair’s road trip continues with Martin Sheen giving a solid, moving but yet all too short appearance as Dodge’s estranged father.  And the circumstances leading to his characters final moments were both touching and jarring. I won’t say why it was heartfelt, but lets just say I would have liked more of a fitting way to end to his character’s involvement in the tale. Lighter moments were seen in T.J Miller and Gillian Jacobs’s OTT gave enthusiastic performances as off-road restaurant workers.

The film soundtrack complemented the movie beautifully with their timing in the movie, and both the lyrics and mood behind the song hauntingly accurate. Songs including The Walker Brothers, The Sun Aint Going to Shine (Anymore) and The Hollies’ The Air That I Breathe. As the story progresses you become so involved with Penny and Dodge, you fervently hope these likeable characters will meet their wishes to be with the ones the love before the asteroid hits earth or the credits roll. I wont say which comes first, but know that you will be overcome by those final scenes which leave a lasting effect on you. But know… as the Australian soap Neighbours (1985-) – yup, that show that launched the careers of Margot Robbie, Russel Crowe and Chris Hemsworth – theme tune crooner tells you

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours
With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend
Neighbours, should be there for one another
That's when good neighbours become good friends.

Weeper Rating😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦  😦 😦  /10

Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂  🙂 🙂 🙂  🙂 🙂 🙂   /10

Hulk Rating: ‎ mrgreen mrgreen mrgreen  ‎/10

Bonus Trailer:  No

endoftheworld2The End of the World Blogathon 2018, No 13

This post on Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) was added to for MovieMovieBlogBlog or The Midnite Drive-In, ts End of the World Blogathon.. Other films with this cast include Rob Corddry in Warm Bodies (2013).  Steve Carell was written about in my Stupid, Crazy, Love review. T.J. Miller stars in Deadpool.

 

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11 thoughts on “FILMS… Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

  1. This film is unexpectedly touching. I was a bit wary of it, thinking Steve Carrell and Kiera Knightley wouldn’t have any chemistry, but was I wrong! This is a terrific film, one that seems to fly under the radar. It’s just the kind of sweet and thoughtful (and sad) film that you would pick – and I mean that as a huge compliment.

    Liked by 1 person

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