SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD is a fresh, bittersweet romantic comedy-drama about two very dissimilar people who meet just before the world is going to end. (Unfortunately, the movie closed in Hawaii theaters on Tuesday, July 3rd. But you should look for it on video in a couple of months.)
Voice from car radio: "The final mission to save mankind has failed. The 70 mile wide asteroid known as Mathilda is set to collide with earth in exactly three weeks time and we'll be bringing you our countdown to the end of days along with all your classic rock favorites."
Steve Carell plays Dodge, a cautious, middle aged insurance salesman whose wife abandons him when it's clear the end of the world is near. He's lonely and depressed and doesn't want to join the wild partying his friends seem to be enjoying. A male friend brags to him about how he's sleeping with a different woman every day because everyone has thrown caution to the winds. But Dodge can't go there.
Keira Knightley is Penny, an optimistic free spirit, who's just left her latest boyfriend. Dodge finds her on the fire escape outside his window. She's crying, so he invites her in and learns she's upset that she never expects to see her family again.
It's unlikely these two people would ever get to know each other under normal circumstances, but the end-of-the-world scenario throws them together and they become friends. Dodge wants to help Penny get back to her family; she wants to help him re-connect with a long lost lover.
It's an emotionally charged situation to say the least. Most of us have thought about what we would do if we had just a short time left to live. And this sweet movie gets the feelings right: it's a realistic mixture of humor and sadness as these two people discover what's really important.
The smart script and naturalistic dialogue give the movie a strong foundation, but it's the appealing, highly convincing performances of Keira Knightley and Steve Carell that make SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD the most satisfying love story I've seen in awhile.