“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”
Not all love stories are comprised of sexy stars and witty banter and clever storylines. This one felt much more simple, plain, and honest. “Seeking” stars Steve Carell as Dodge & Keira Knightley as Penny. The premise of the story is this: an asteroid is headed for Earth and it will kill us all, a quiet man with a boring job watches as his wife runs away from him when they both hear the news that the Earth is doomed. Dodge is so shocked by his wife’s clear disappointment with him as a choice for a husband that he simply goes about his life while society falls apart around him. Penny is the girlfriend of a neighbor of Dodge’s that tries to reclaim her albums form his apartment and instead meets up with Dodge. Thanks to some loose-lips truth-telling, Penny delivers to Dodge a letter from his long-lost love that gives Dodge hope that she may be the one he is supposed to end his life with. Desperate to reconnect with her, Dodge goes on a road trip to find this woman while Penny feels an obligation to tag along.
Basically, this is a road trip movie with a really unusual backdrop. That backdrop is sometimes frightening to behold. Fortunately, the filmmakers decided to not dwell upon the more horrific side of society falling apart. Instead, they focused on telling the story based on a simple question: if you knew the end of the world was about to happen, how would you like to go out? Maybe you never found true love, like Dodge, and you set off to find what you THINK is the real answer to your love life’s woes.
From that premise, it becomes fairly formulaic. Yes, we all see it coming: Penny & Dodge will end up together. But for a little while, at least it is fun to see their love story unfold. It is interspersed with poignant moments – like Penny reconnecting with an old ex, and Dodge making peace with his estranged father. Truthfully though, there is this cold …awfulness to the story. It is sad that Dodge was married to someone that regularly cheated on him. It is sad that Penny has never been with anyone that really understood her.
Of course, the end of the world IS coming and the film never backs away from that. The asteroid is not diverted at the last minute. Bruce Willis is not coming to save the day. The end is imminent & inevitable. So, the story ends with with that sad reality, but it gives the audience at least a pause to question ourselves in those same circumstances. Ultimately, “Seeking” is fairly tame and charming in its own right, but it is depressing none the less. Skip this one and peek at something a little more uplifting.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.