Film: Thumbs up for “Seeking a Friend”
June 29th, 2012
Omaha, NE – How would you spend your last three weeks before the earth was destroyed by an asteroid? From the Movieha podcast, Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood take a look at Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
Ryan: What did we do before we invented the word dramedy?
Matt: Accurately described a movie using full sentences and not pithy, simplistic, made-up words.
Ryan: Right! That! Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is billed as a dramedy but has far more Dra- than Medy, as it’s actually kind of a cute meditation on the restrictions we place on love and the distractions that we call our lives.
Matt: Steve Carell, the poet laureate of down-on-their luck American everymen, plays Dodge, a down-on-his-luck American everyman. When his wife hears a radio broadcast that confirms the planet’s eminent demise, she rabbits, fleeing on foot from her joyless marriage and leaving him to die alone, which is exactly what he married her to avoid.
Ryan: That night, Dodge finds Penny, played by Keira Knightley, crying outside his window after realizing she’ll never see her family in England due to her choice to stay with a boy she has since broken up with. Dodge and Penny live in the same apartment complex but haven’t met, although she does have lots of his mail she hasn’t given him, including a letter from Dodge’s high-school sweetheart.
Matt: And just as the riots outside go from “Your Team Has Won a Championship” to “What Do You Mean Those Cops Who Beat Rodney King Got Away With It?” Dodge and Penny set out to find his lady love and her a plane ride home.
Ryan: For a movie about global destruction, writer/director Lorene Scafaria’s movie is staggeringly intimate. In some sense, it could have been a stage play, as Carell and Knightley spend the vast majority of the run time simply talking. In doing so, they get to know each other better than nearly every romantic duo in the history of cinema.
Matt: Because the world is ending, no one need adhere to social norms. This is why characters like those played by Rob Corddry and Connie Britton resort to heroin use or promiscuous sex. But Dodge and Penny have always been looking for the same thing: someone who will truly understand and appreciate who they really are.
Ryan: If you’re looking for laughs, you’ve been lied to.
Ryan: But this is the sort of movie that is special because of the dynamic actors involved, as they give us nuanced and believable characters in an unbelievable setting.
Matt: This is sure to prompt some great “what would you do with three weeks left” conversations, as well as some unwarranted outrage over the film’s final act.
Ryan: But I would argue that Seeking a Friend not only earns its ending, it is shockingly moving and unbelievably appropriate if you let yourself feel it. To put it another way, the end may be nigh, but it’s also quite nice.
Editorial note: The Movieha podcast is produced in partnership with The Reader and is available at thereader.com.
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