Earlier this year there was "Melancholia", the ambitious and at times entertaining but also pretentious take on "the end of the world" as envisioned by director Lars von Trier, and now we get a completely different perspective on the very same topic, as written and directed by Lorene Scafaria.
"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" (95 min.) starts off brilliantily. In the first minute of the movie we see Dodge (played by Steve Carell) and his wife sitting in the car, listening to the radio announcement that asteroid 'Matilda' cannot be stopped and will hit earth in 3 weeks, ending life as we know it. Dodge's wife looks at him, and then leaves the car, literally running away from him. What a beginning! Dodge eventually meets Penny (played by Kiera Knightley), and regardless of their age difference, they strike a friendship. Dodge and Penny hit the road, among others to look up Dodge's HS sweetheart and to find a plane for penny so she can rejoin her family in England. I don't want to give away much more of the plot, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out, but let's just say things don't pan out exactly as Dodge and Penny thought they would.
This is an outstanding movie from start to finish. In the midst of all the numbing summer blockbusters that Hollywood unleaches upon us, here's actually a movie that actually speaks to me. At times I laughed, at times I teared up, and the movie went by in the blink of an eye. I don't know that Steve Carell has ever been better than here, playing the "Joe Six-Pack" average guy with even more restraint (and that's a compliment). Kudos also to Kiera Kightley. Likewise for the oustanding soundtrack (I may never listen to the Hollies "The Air That I Breathe" in the same way again). But the ultimate credit must go to writer-director Lorene Scafaria, making her directing debut here. Can't wait to see what she will do next. Meanwhile, "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" is HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!