Seeking A Friend For the End of the World
A film that for some reason I always thought would be rubbish, and thus never got round to watching – and as such was surprised by this touching romantic drama. I’d compare this, favourably, to Safety Not Guaranteed and Stranger than Fiction, in that it is advertised as something different – in this case a romantic comedy focusing on the unlikely coupling of Keira Knightley and Steve Carell. Instead what follows is a genreless tale of two strangers who find each other, and fall in love, in the last 3 weeks before a meteor will hit the Earth and wipe out all life.
What starts off as a comic tale of Dodge (Carell) navigating the apocalypse after his wife leaves him, soon evolves into a touching love story, as Dodge and his neighbour Penny (Knightley) – who despite living above for three years he has only just met – flee the city in order to find Dodge’s first love – and a plane that can take Penny back home to England, and her family, in their last few weeks before the meteor hits.
Throughout several comic misadventures, a notable highlight being the suicide-by-homicide of a driver they hitch a lift with, bury, and then have to excavate to get the truck keys, the two slowly fall for each other, resulting in a tender story equal parts heart warming and tragic – discovering they are each other’s true loves with only days to spend with each other before the end – but as Dodge says in the final lines – ‘It couldn’t have happened any other way.’ If not for the apocalypse the two would have never have found each other.
Great credit must be laid at both the leads feet, Carrel shows his strength as a drama actor brilliantly, echoing the performance of his Anchorman co-star Will Ferrell in Stranger than Fiction, in a role requiring much more than just comic timing, showing a incredible dramatic side. Knightley is equally brilliant, with surprising comic timing. That the unlike romantic pairing of Carell and Knightley works is credit to the both of them, they carry the film, and turn what could have been a typical, bland, romcom into something much more.
So to summarise, a story of two people who find each other too late, incredibly well acted and with some great humour throughout, that evolves past the trappings of romantic comedy to become a charming yet tragic love story. 8/10