Monday, June 25, 2012

Seeking a Good Movie? Look No Further!: Our Review of "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" (2012)

Directed By: Lorene Scafaria

Starring: Steve Carell and Keira Knightley

Rating: R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence

Synopsis: After the news that asteroid is going to destroy Earth in 21 days following a failed Armageddon-esque attempt to save it, Dodge Petersen (Carell) is abandoned by his wife, essentially leaving him with nothing. Then he meets his eccentric neighbor, Penny (Knightley), and together they search for his long-lost love and a way to get her back to her family in England before the world ends.


Andrew: Hello readers! Last night Sarah and I saw the new Steve Carell/Keira Knightley dramedy Seeking a Friend For the End of the World. Sarah, this is the third of the three movies we previewed on Thursday that we’ve seen now, and if I remember correctly you were kind of on the fence about this one. So now that we’ve seen it, what did you think about Seeking a Friend For the End of the World?

Sarah: I liked it! The concept behind the plot obviously made me think but it was not what I expected. It was actually pretty intense.

A: What did you expect?

S: I expected more comedy. I expected to be a little bit funnier. Maybe that’s my fault…

A: I think that’s more the trailer’s fault.

S: It could be more of the trailer’s fault, I do think they gave away a lot of the funny parts in the trailer to get audiences, but it was much more in line with Carell’s Dan in Real Life. It has its funny moments but is pretty intense the rest of the time. I had this pit of nervousness in my stomach pretty much the whole time we were watching it, especially towards the end.

A: I think you nailed it on the head comparing it to Dan in Real Life. This was actually, like we said at the top, more of a dramedy. It has its funny parts, which the trailer gave away a lot of, but it’s also very serious, dark and introspective. I liked how it shows the different kind of responses people might have to knowing they only have so many days to live.

The journey Penny (Knightley) and Dodge (Carell) go on was pleasantly surprising to us.
I actually REALLY liked this movie because of that aspect. I was surprised, like you, as to what was really going down. But I really, really liked the different portrayals. You had Connie Britton’s character, a married woman who is way too aloof and she makes a move on Carell’s Dodge and says something sobering along the lines of, “Nobody is anyone’s anything anymore.” That was her character’s response to the end of the world, and there are plenty of other examples in the film I liked.

S: There was also the Dodge’s housekeeper who kept coming back to clean his apartment, and all the other people who kept on doing their regular day jobs like nothing was happening.

A: And I think that’s a great representation! There would DEFINITELY be people who couldn’t take it and they would find comfort in doing what they’ve done every other of their lives.

S: I do too. Seeking a Friend For the End of the World is very much a character study. Each character was extremely developed, which takes time to do so some viewers might perceive it as being slow.

A: One thing I liked, as you were just saying, while it was slow you have Carell’s Dodge and Knightley’s Penny and both of them going through a, “What DIDN’T I do in my life? What did I waste my time doing? What can I do to make up for it?” And their search for that.

(POSSIBLE SPOILER FROM HERE ON OUT) Much like Warrior last year, you knew what was going to happen regarding Dodge and Penny’s relationship or could see it coming from a mile away, but it’s HOW they got there and the reactions and the acting! Steve Carell for the second year in a row BROUGHT it. We loved him in Crazy, Stupid, Love and this might be equal work.

S: It’s a little different because he’s dourer, like he was in Dan in Real Life, but there’s just something about him in his eyes and how he says his lines, his delivery. It kills you.

A: And Keira Knightley did well especially the scene where she’s able to call her family…

S: Oh gosh yes. And what I thought was interesting was that they realize throughout the story that what they’re seeking is not what they thought they needed before the world ended. I think that journey is very important, and it really makes you think. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, what if something like this WERE to happen? It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that something like this could ever happen. It makes you wonder and think about what would YOU do if the world was ending in three weeks?

While looking like an unlikely romantic couple, Sarah looks at it as more of the two needing each other than anything else
A: And again I thought it was a great representation of the different reactions to the apocalypse. One of my favorite details was at the beginning they show a billboard that has flyers on it and one is basically an ad for if you want to hire an assassin to kill you before the world ends, and we’re introduced to a character who does end up hiring one and it made me think. Like, “Damn, I never thought of that. People really MIGHT do that!”

S: And how many people would commit suicide because they wouldn’t want to live knowing the end is near? You know you’re going to die but everyone’s going to die at the same time but you can’t wait.

A: And it’s the detail of this one guy who hires an assassin to kill him because he can’t kill himself because you can’t get into heaven that way. People would DEFINITELY think like that. And there’s a scene later where there’s a mass Baptism, and this one is a joyous scene, all these people who maybe weren’t even religious before the apocalypse…

S: Want to be saved before the end.

A: Exactly. I loved those details. A lot of it could maybe be seen as cheesy or hokey, but I didn’t see it that way. It was all very earnest…

S: Very heartfelt and real. And Steve Carell absolutely pulls this movie off. There are plenty of funny moments, like Friendsy’s restaurant scene is a blast, and there are a lot of funny turns by actors like Rob Corddry, Patton Oswalt and others. The casting was top notch, just perfect across the board. And it just made us think!

A: Honestly this film is in my top five of the year so far behind The Cabin in the Woods, 21 Jump Street and The Avengers.

S: I don’t know.

A: It really made me think and it GOT to us. It’s a dark comedy, it’s very dark at times, and along with all the representations of how people would react, there are some things that happen in the film that took me by surprise and that was a good thing. Some people might not like them, but I did.

S: Yeah, there were some surprising moments. While we could see the romance coming, everything else that happened was a pleasant surprise.

A: What’s our final grade?

S: I don’t necessarily think you need to see this in theatres. It would be a good matinee but also works just as well on the small screen. We won’t own it the day it comes out, but I do think we’ll own it some day.

FINAL VERDICT: A must-see in theatres!

(Out of Five Clapboards)


  1. I also responded positively to Seeking A Friend. It was super endearing and I did enjoy Carrell and Knightley as the leads although I wasn't sure if their romance came together completely. I completely agree with you saying "While looking like an unlikely romantic couple, Sarah looks at it as more of the two needing each other than anything else" but it felt like the movie was maybe trying to make it into something way more than that. Maybe in that situation everything would be so intense that you would feel really passionate though.

    Also, I just wanted to say that I found your site recently and I love your reviews! Really unique idea that works well.

    1. Yes it was an interesting combination of actors. But we really liked that it was something new, pairing these two together. Thanks for your comment! We're so glad you enjoy our reviews, we have a lot of fun writing them!

  2. A totally uneven film, but somewhat lifted up by Carell and Knightley's performances. Hopefully, Keira picks up more comedic roles for her because she's actually pretty damn good at them believe it or not. Good review.

  3. totally agree with dan, tonely a bit of a mess but its quirkiness is endearing, as are the leads...