It’s the last week of August and that means I’m talking about something that inspired the unholy bejesus out of me!
There’s a movie that came out a little while back (2012 to be precise), and you can see the trailer for that movie right here!
Although you probably shouldn’t. The trailer is pretty bad. Which, now that I’m thinking about it, is why I said OH HELL NO to this movie when it was first coming out.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (referred to as simply Seeking from here on out) is an apocalyptic romantic comedy, and that’s a weird damned combination, let me tell you.
The framing of the movie is this: Steve Carell is being his Steve Carell-iest in the final month of the planet’s existence. A big fuckall asteroid or meteor or whatever is gonna shoot its load all over the planet’s face and drown the world in fire and ash. That’s happening. There’s no surviving. There’s no hope. There’s just a month to live and a man who has nothing to live for.
Cue the impossibly attractive young neighbor (Keira Knightley) who has everything to live for but no way to achieve her goals because of a reckless, helter-skelter lifestyle and poor life choices.
This unlikely pair comes together in order to chase after their dreams in their final moments on Earth. They both have something the other needs to get where they’re going, so he can find the love of his life and she can find her family.
That’s essentially it. It’s not an inspired story. In fact the basic premise has been done so many times that it’s a wonder I like this movie at all.
But I do. In fact I think I love this movie.
It’s not perfect. I don’t even like Steve Carell very much, so when he’s the top-billed actor in a thing, it actually has the reverse effect of a milkshake bringing boys to the yard.
Also related to this, the trailer (that awful thing) sells the movie as a heartless, charmless romantic comedy the likes of which everyone has seen a hundred times. The framing of the apocalypse doesn’t sell itself well. It appears bland and uninspired.
And yet I love this fucking movie.
There are two specific reasons behind my admiration, and I’ll touch on them briefly:
- The writing is top-notch. It’s subtle, it’s fun, it’s dynamic. The dialogue (especially between Carell and Knightley) is clever and they sell the lines so well. So much of that awful trailer up there is focused around showing you scenes that help further the plot, but rarely does it show you how fucking smart it can be. If you hear a couple of lines in the trailer that make you laugh, I personally guarantee you that it’s just the tip of the iceberg on funny, subtle, and unexpected lines.
- The emotional core of the movie is sold remarkably well by the lead actors. Carell, who I typically find abrasive and bland (even in brilliant things like The Office), is still basically being a version of himself, but it’s a version that just works. I believe the everyman-ness of him, his frustration at his misspent life.Keira Knightley does a bang-up job, as well. She’s hopeful, endlessly optimistic, and there are moments when she’s emoting that I remember how good she can truly be. The two of them have a fun dynamic that was fascinating to watch, and eventually heartbreaking to witness.
To me, ‘Seeking’ is the best version of this style of movie. It knows how to be funny, it knows how to tug at your heartstrings. It absolutely understands the frustration of the mundane life, the battle against mediocrity, the struggle to find that which you are destined to have. It is an intimate, funny, lovely movie and it reminds me of what I love about life, and about the people I surround myself with.
It inspires me to chase the dream, to never give in to the hostile oppression of impossible odds, and to always remember to write the hell on.