A Celebration of ‘You’ When “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”
It’s highly unlikely these days to come across a movie that really makes you think. Of course, an apocalyptic movie about the end of the world would initially stir some fear, terror, or even some trite boredom in people as the concept has become widely overwritten in the past decade, though, there lies something deeply and hauntingly uplifting in Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World. As the film cinema has constantly been thriving with new releases constantly being thrown at us every-which-way, there are those particular movies that make you stop in your tracks and–perhaps–cause you to reevaluate things, think deeply, or just reflect on this very life you live.
I’m not telling you to pin your life-changing revelations on this movie as you watch Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, though, you may be pleasantly surprised to see what this movie can offer. Albeit, I may be a little biased since I’ve clearly always been a devoted Keira Knightley fan, the concepts and deeply-moving emotions wrung out of the audience in this film are noteworthy accomplishments.
At face value, this isn’t a movie you’d give five-stars or award for the “greatest screenplay”; rather, its slow, draggy beginnings and initially off-putting chemistry between Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Keira Knightley) serve as downfalls to the film’s initial concepts. Further, it seems to try too hard remaining between the lines of a Hollywood comedy (staying faithful to Carell’s comedic reputation) and a notable apocalyptic drama (which Knightley familiarly takes the role upon). But, perhaps that is what gives this movie its charm–it draws the lines between comedy, romance and drama, and ties in a hint of conceptual sci-fi at its basis. It’s a little bit of everything, which may or may not be executed so well a majority of the film. But, besides all of the technical jargon this movie has film critics raving and/or bashing it for, this movie has some really beautiful moments.
What suits this film as a dark comedy is its ability to take an inevitable end and turn it into an uplifting adventure. Although it may have lost itself in a majority of the first-half trying to retain the raunchy, light-hearted comedy that audiences (and Hollywood) often love, the film does well at making you feel for, and possibly fall in love with, its characters. As a self-titled optimist who has made some young mistakes of her own, the character of Penny is particularly charming. As she “seeks a friend for the end of the world,” moments of her truth, beauty, and real, down-to-earth human-self seep out into the arms of somber, dreary-eyed Dodge with a heart of gold. As the characters soon learn that their roads are coming to an end, they–beautifully–retain their happiness in the face of adversity. They stay happy and hopeful. They never lose sight of their will for living. They keep treading. They keep walking. They keep searching… All for a hopeful end in that they reach their goals on time. As they both seek such genuine interests throughout, perhaps what they find in each other becomes something truly special. And that’s what makes us warm up to these characters. We’ve all got goals too.
If the end of the world were to come, would you spend it by revolutionizing a survival, partying and being in an orgy, or maybe searching for that loved one that got away? Either way, when the end of the world is approaching, the way one will act is unpredictable. Beautifully, this movie spends it as a celebration of life, which is truly uplifting yet gravely depressing and inevitable.
All I have to say is, let yourself get sucked into the world this movie offers. Connect yourself with the characters. React to the outrageous things people do when the end of the world comes. Listen to the records that have become identity to one. Feel the fear. Ponder the words. And laugh a little. Just watch, then let yourself live again. How will you live?
I have to be honest, I did not expect to find myself crying at one point and then bawling as the credits would roll by at the end; though, I find there is a particular fear yet beauty in that fear that brings mutual connection and love to people that this film so well epitomizes. Perhaps what this movie reminded me of is the pure will for living and importance of doing what matters most to you right now. There’s no use in contemplation or an “I’ll do it tomorrow.” The fears and insecurities and doubts and judgments others have on other people are completely useless–so why hold onto them longer? In the end, we are all one and the same and we all just want that one friend when our time may be up. We all want that one connection, one love, one family, or one stranger that keeps us all living and alive. Spending those joyous moments with that one person or those who you love most is what we all seek in life… Let us not lose sight of that.
What a movie can do when it makes you think.
And, as I must note, I’m in love with the soundtrack to this film. It definitely touches my old-soul and is something I would want to listen to if the end of the world were approaching. Seeking a friend? Well, maybe this music can help pass the time. Penny definitely inspired me to seek out repairing my dad’s old record player to lose myself in vinyl.
p.s. I’m afraid we all fear to prove ourselves credible too much that we bash too easily and love too lightly. Just OPEN your heart for God’s sake!