I borrowed this DVD from the library (thanks for all the free stuff, library!) thinking I was going to get some goofy, comedy movie about the end of the world.  Nope.  Although “Seeking A Friend For The End of The World” has many moments that make you laugh, overall this is a serious drama.  There’s a lot of emotional depth in this movie; and if “Seeking…” was a boxer, it would be a heavyweight.

Steve Carell plays a man whose wife has left him when there are only 3 weeks left before Earth gets hit with an asteroid so large it will destroy all life — except maybe for some bacteria, cockroaches, and politicians.  He tries his best to go about his life as if everything is still normal, probably because that’s all he has left.  But when he finds out his wife has been cheating on him for a long time, and he comes upon a letter from a woman he dated years ago — the love of his life, “the one” — Carell decides to find his first love and spend the last remaining days with her.

Of course, Carell’s path to his former flame isn’t a straight one.  While sitting around the house not knowing what to do with the remaining days he has left, he becomes friends with a neighbor (played by Keira Knightley) in his apartment building; and she is more morose than Carell is!   Knightley has just broken up with her boyfriend, and she missed the last flight to England to be with her family.  Well, Carell and Knightley strike up enough of a friendship for Carell to rescue Knightley from a riot, and the two find themselves on a similar path to be with the people they want to be with.

Back to the riot: this sequence is one of my most memorable, movie moments of “Seeking…”   The movie quickly changes gears and turns into an action/horror as Carell and Knightley escape their burning apartment building and run to Knightley’s car as they dodge bullets and try to outrun a fast moving mob that is destroying everything in its path.  It is one of the constant reminders to the audience that despite the funny moments that happen throughout the story, the end is coming, and it’s coming fast.

Another memorable moment of this movie is the scene when Carell and Knightley talk for the first time.  Carell invites a crying Knightley into his apartment, and Knightley says something like, “I promise not to steal anything if you promise not to rape me.”  Ha ha!   Knightley’s character is a trip.  Very much alive, a person who wants to soak in as much of life as possible.  It’s easy to like this character.

As for Carell’s character…he’s more laid back.  Older, the kind of person whose dreams have been beaten out of him by life; and he just wants the basic things, nothing special.   He likes to play it safe, to stay in his comfort zone for the most part.   But he is very likeable — at least I think so.  Carell is very kind, has a lot of love to give, and he still holds on to his morals and his humanity even when most people around him are doing whatever the hell they want to do because the world is ending.   Plus, he reminds me of somebody I know very well, so yeah…I’m partial to liking this guy.

Still another memorable moment of this movie is the scene when Knightley is talking on the phone with her relatives in England.  The range of emotions that go through her face as she speaks with her loved ones is heartbreaking.  She’s not only saying hello, she’s saying goodbye.  This scene reminds me that all the things that I try to acquire (money, fast cars, a big house) is nothing compared to the love and companionship of my close relatives and friends.  In our most desperate times, what is truly important to us comes sharply in focus.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Seeking A Friend For The End of The World” is the scene when Carell carries a sleeping Knightley to a plane that will take her to England.  As he straps her in her seat, Carell whispers something to Knightley.  What those words are will not be written here.  You’ll just have to watch the movie.

There’s something I want to address here that many of you will probably criticize this movie for: the seemingly lack of lawlessness throughout the movie.   It is mentioned on a news broadcast that rioting is taking place in many parts of America; and Carell and Knightley are mostly travelling in the suburbs and rural areas, where there is a stronger bond and feeling of community among neighbors, and so it is reasonable to not have lots of people in these places going crazy.  Plus, I think most people will stay with their loved ones instead of rioting/looting/raping, and will hold on to their dignity as their lives comes to an end.   Yes, I am shocked writing this, because I tend to be a cynical, NYC dweller who believes most people suck.  But secretly, I have high hopes for people.

As you watch “Seeking…”, you may ask yourself several times what you would do in this situation.   How you would live your remaining 3 weeks.  It is a scary thought.  3 weeks to live.   Definitely not enough time to do everything you wanted to do.  Every minute is precious…how would you use it?  And then…the movie ends, and most of you will go about your lives the way you always do, taking time for granted, thinking you have decades left of life to live.   Are you sure about that?   Many people who drive home from work and are killed in a car accident thought the same thing.   We just don’t know how much time we have left, so if there’s something you need to say to a loved one, say it.  If there’s a place you always wanted to visit, go as soon as you can.

I’m going to do my best to heed my own advice, but knowing me, I’ll probably play it safe and do what I usually do.  I just hope I have enough time.

M

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