Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

Released last year Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World is a 2012 comedy drama movie about the last few days of life on planet earth. Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, in her directorial debut, the film stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley.

The movie opens up with the radio announcement that the 70 mile asteroid, called Matilda, is on a collision course with Earth and that the space shuttle Deliverance has failed on a mission to destroy it. There are 3 weeks left before impact, which will bring the end of all life on earth. Dodge and his wife Linda are sitting in their car on the road when they hear the announcement and when Dodge has a disinterested response to this news, Linda looks at him and flees the vehicle without saying a word to him. Dodge goes about his own life as the days pass, returning to the insurance company where he works and trying to continue his routine. While his friends seem to be living it up with constant drinking, partying and drugs, his life has not changed. Even his housekeeper, Elsa, continues to show up and clean his apartment despite Dodge’s insistence that there is no further need to do so. It takes a co-worker jumping to his death and falling on top of Dodge’s car to make him stop going to work.

He attends a party at his friend Warren’s house where Dodge seems distant from the wild partying going on, usage of cocaine (and funny scenes of the parents making the kids drink) and even rejects Warren’s wife Diane’s attempts to set him up with a common friend Karen as well as Diane’s sexual pass at him. Dodge returns home to reminisce about his highschool sweetheart Olivia, when he notices his neighbour Penny crying on the fire escape as she missed the last commercial flight and has no chance of seeing her family back in England. She has also just broken up with her casual boyfriend. Returning to her apartment, Penny gives Dodge three years’ worth of his mail that was incorrectly delivered to her, but which she kept forgetting to hand over, and in the process unknowingly tells him that his wife was having an affair. Upset he goes off into the night drinking codeine-laced cough syrup and window cleaner in an attempt to kill himself. But he wakes up in the morning with a dog on a leash tied next to him with a note saying just “Sorry”. Dodge takes the dog, who he names, Sorry, home with him and opens his mail finding a letter from Olivia, dated 3 months ago, in which she explains why she left him and what has happened in her life, concluding with the admission that he was “the love of her life”. That night a riot breaks out in the area and Dodge helps Penny and Owen get out of the building. After Owen uses Penny as a human shield when they hear gunfire, they dump him in the streets and head out in Penny’s car, with Sorry.

Dodge tells her that he knows someone who has a plane and could fly her to England if she promises to help him find Olivia first. She agrees and the two set off for Dodge’s hometown in Delaware. After running out of gas they hitch a ride with a truck driver (William Petersen) who is a cancer patient and had hired an assassin to kill him, before the asteroid about to hit earth was discovered. The driver mistook Dodge to be the assassin but when they stop at a field, he is gunned down by the hit man, who high-tails it down the road in a getaway car. After burying the driver, Dodge & Penny take the truck and continue on their way. They stop at a popular restaurant where there is a wild party with lots of food, drinks and an orgy going on and although the two leave, swept up in the moment they have sex in the truck. They are flagged for speeding by a thoughtless police officer who throws them in jail and impounds their car, although a kindly older cop sets them free and says he will drive them as far as Camden, New Jersey. They then head to Penny’s ex called Speck who, after letting her use his sat phone to contact her parents and she has an emotional talk with her family. They then borrow one of Speck’s Smart cars and drive to Olivia’s old family house. They find it empty so they break in and have a nice meal while listening to Penny’s records. The next day they go to Olivia’s new home but Dodge only leaves a note for her and does not go in to see his old girlfriend.

They join a group of people enjoying an afternoon at the beach and become closer before Dodge says that he plans to help her get back to England and they drive to Somerset, where they pay a visit to Dodge’s estranged father Frank (Martin Sheen). After father & son reconcile (Frank has left his family 25 years ago) the 3 of them sit down to a nice dinner and personal time. After Penny falls asleep, Dodge carries her outside and it becomes apparent that the pilot he mentioned earlier is none other than his father, who is waiting for them in his airplane. Dodge gently places her in the passenger seat of the small plane, whispering to her that she is the love of his life, then nods to his father and watches as the plane flies away. Dodge then head back to his apartment finding a note from Karen and also is shocked to see his maid there. He scolds her and asks her to go be with her family  but in the end when she seems greatly disappointed, he tells her that he will see her next Thursday, as usual. Turning on the tv news he learns that Matilda is due to arrive one week earlier than expected as the news anchors winds down  the final broadcast. There is now only 16 hours left for impact. Taking Sorry with him he goes to Penny’s apartment and spends the next few hours listening to her records until the power goes out. As he lights candles he finds Penny has come back; she woke up in the plane and made Frank bring her back. She asks how he could have possibly left her. He admits that it was the stupidest thing he’d ever done, and the two share one final, tearful reunion.

Saying that her parents have each other and her brothers and their families, Penny lies down on the bed with Dodge and the dog and they talk. As the distant boom of Matilda collision with Earth. Penny panics, telling him that she thought they could have saved each other, but Dodge assures her they did. The final moments the two of them smile as in the distance a bright white  appears behind Penny in the background, which rapidly grows brighter and brighter until it starts to envelop them, at which point it becomes a white fade as the film ends.

I liked the movie a lot even if it flopped at the boxoffice, making slightly less than it’s $10 mil budget. It’s a nice, sweet movie with moments of humour and sweetness. 8 outta 10 for me!

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