Aimlessly browsing Netflix in search of something to watch should be considered an Olympic sport. The amount of time I have wasted looking through all the different sections just to fall into the same old independent movie tab is astonishing, and I should probably take a break from Netflix altogether. Since I’m not trying to fool anyone and we all know that a break from Netflix isn’t bound to happen any time soon, I figured I should probably talk about my latest venture into my trusty old indie movie watch list,
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”.
The movie begins with the news that a meteor is coming straight to our planet, and that there’s nothing to be done about it. Simultaneously, Dodge’s (Steve Carell) wife leaves him and he resigns to living his last few weeks on Earth alone. That changes when he meets Penny (Keira Knightley), the quirky girl next door who flees the city with him when a riot starts just outside their building. Together, they go looking for the people they’d like to see before the world ends.
I did enjoy the premise of this movie, but not so much how it was executed. It was interesting to see how people lose all boundaries when they know their days are counted, for example, and I wish this could’ve been more than marginally explored in the movie. Also, I felt like the movie got off to a strong start, but got lost somewhere along the first half of it. There was a sense of urgency in the beginning, of having only a certain number of days left, and once the journey of the two main characters actually start, the title cards with the number of days’ left are forgotten and the audience is left mostly in the dark about how much time they still have. I feel like when you’re dealing with imminent apocalypse, a certain amount of urgency is necessary so the audience can understand the characters’ motivations.
The characters, in turn, weren’t especially well written. I felt like they were lacking something that made them click or made me think that their journey was one worth following. I am a huge fan of Steve Carell, and he has to do very little to make me like him, but I was just not feeling it too much here. That’s not to say that it was all bad, or that I didn’t get emotional a few times, because I did. There’s a scene where Penny talks on the phone with her family and I felt a bit choked up, and Carell always manages the emotional moments pretty well. However, I felt like these characters weren’t very interesting by themselves, and bringing romance into the picture actually weakened the narrative instead of making it stronger. The age difference between both characters is also part of the reason why I didn’t enjoy it as much. Hollywood does have the tendency to pair young actresses with much older actors, which can be sexist as it allows men to age but doesn’t afford women the same luxury, forcing older actresses to always play the mother and never the love interest. You can read some interesting articles about this with charts here and here!
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” managed to keep me entertained and wasn’t a bad movie. However, I did feel like there were more misses than hits, and the whole thing felt a bit hollow when it ended. It wasn’t a complete waste of time, but I don’t like watching movies and thinking about all the things I would’ve written differently as that tends me to distract me from what’s actually happening. Have you ever seen this movie? What did you think of it?
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