How would you spend your last month on Earth?
For me, it would probably be rekindling the flames with old friends, seeking the loves lost and enjoying the time I had left with my family. For the fictional residents of the world in the movie “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” it was essentially that.
While the movie itself was thoroughly depressing, it was lined with that exceedingly depressing thought, “how would you spend what little time you had left.”
When an attempt to destroy a 70-mile wide asteroid plummeting toward Earth fails, humanity has given up hope in the slim chance the space rock could miss the planet. Riots ensue, air transportation is canceled and electric and water utilities cease to exist. Essentially sending those residents into a stone age, but still inhabited with today’s technologies.
Dodge (played by the always wonderful Steve Carell), an insurance salesman, knew from a young age he wouldn’t see himself as an old man, but continues to go about his daily activities, including work, while the asteroid is rocketing toward Earth and every television station has a countdown to the “end of the world.” He sees no value in life, even after pushed by his friends at an end of the world party to let loose and have some fun.
It’s only after he meets his neighbor, a crying Penny (Keira Knightley), that he decides to end his life on a high note – seeking his first love who got away. Penny, a native Brit who came to the states for reasons unknown, wants to spend her remaining time with her family overseas. The two form somewhat of a partnership after Dodge states he knows a pilot who can get her to where she needs to go and set off to accomplish both goals.
The majority of the movie takes place on the journey, as we see the two unite over casual conversation and life experiences. Are they the most entertaining duo? No. But do they grow on you? Yes.
It kind of makes you root for them, even though you know the eventual doom will come knocking. Carell and Knightley, while on paper do not seem like they would be a good duo, surprisingly have such a way with their characters where you could believe it happened. It takes some time, but toward the end, you’re happy they met each other.
Thrown in with a random cast of supporting actors, including William Petersen, Adam Brody, Patton Oswalt, Connie Britton, Melanie Lynskey, Rob Corddry, T.J. Miller, the film is definitely a dramedy. You laugh but you are also sad.
During the last act, too, you are clearly wiped of any and all emotion. Sure, you could expect it, but it’s just so dark that you don’t.
I left the theater immediately wanting to watch something lighter and happier to improve my mood. I have yet to do such.
If you want to feel depressed leaving a movie, go see it. If you like Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, seeing children drink alcohol or a character-building movie, go see it. It’s definitely my dark horse come Oscar season. Dark, dark horse. Extremely.