"Maintaining Values in a World Gone Mad"
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD is a poignant dramatic comedy with strong Christian, moral elements. It’s one of the year’s best, more powerful movies, but there’s plenty of strong foul language and some morally aberrant behavior, especially during the movie’s first half, that warrant extreme caution. The negative content is what gives the movie an R-rating.
A radio news announcer reports that a space shuttle crew has failed to destroy an earth-bound asteroid. He says everyone on earth will die when the asteroid impacts in three weeks. The lead character, Dodge (played by Steve Carell), and his wife, Linda, sit stunned in their car for a moment. Suddenly, Linda runs off into the night in a panic, never to return.
Later, at a final party, Dodge’s seemingly sedate and married friends go nuts and spiral into immoral behavior. They feel there are no consequences to their actions anymore. Dodge, however, remains mostly calm and decent, despite a flirtation with depression and suicide. He keeps going to work at his insurance company.
Back at his apartment building, Dodge meets Penny, a younger woman who just broke up with her boyfriend. Together, they embark on a road trip to help Dodge find his high school sweetheart, whom he thinks was the love of his life. Instead, Dodge and Penny fall in love with each other.
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD is an emotionally powerful movie about ordinary people placed in a very tough situation. Despite all the drama, there are some really funny scenes about people soldiering on in the light of the apocalypse. That said, the movie’s a little episodic. Also, Steve Carell’s Dodge seems a little too old for Keira Knightley’s Penny character, which interferes slightly with the chemistry between the two actors. However, the poignant depth of their performances helps wipe most of the movie’s weaknesses away. They are also ably supported by other veterans, including Martin Sheen, Derek Luke and William Petersen. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria mines her situations for meaning that could fill ten lesser movies. The two lead characters try to close out their lives with dignity and love amid a world in chaos. They offer a good example of how people should live when faced with little time left – dignity, good cheer and unselfish, undying love for others.
Even better, they are shown going together to an impromptu baptismal line led by a Catholic priest by the ocean. Also, Dodge attains forgiveness and reconciliation with the father who abandoned him as a boy. Finally, there’s a really poignant scene where a TV news anchor says, “God bless you” after telling the audience that he and his family will be praying for everyone. The anchor’s statements serve almost like a benediction on Dodge and Penny’s relationship.
Despite the positive second half, the movie’s lewd content and drug references clearly warrant extreme caution. The movie also has some light Romantic elements in the second half. The negative content is partly designed to show the venality underneath human society’s veneer of civilization, but the more egregious elements should have been toned down to get a PG-13 rating for SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD. Please consult our CONTENT section above before deciding whether to see this movie.
(CC, BB, Ro, Pa, Ho, LLL, VV, S, AA, DD, MM) Strong, sometimes implied Christian worldview with strong moral elements, especially in the second half, including hero during a coming apocalypse says he might try to find God, brief implied baptismal procession on the beach led by a Catholic priest and this encourages couple to hold hands and kiss, TV news anchor signs off saying “God bless you” and that he and his family will pray for everyone, family is extolled briefly, and promotion of repentance and forgiveness in scene where protagonist and his estranged father reconcile, marred by some Romantic feelings-based content at end examples of morally aberrant behavior and crude language surrounding hero and heroine in four scenes, plus brief homosexual element when waitress surprises hero and heroine by suddenly kissing them on their lips, but the lead couple leaves the restaurant; about 38 obscenities and profanities (including 14 “f” words, some “s” words, a couple strong profanities, about 10 light profanities); strong violence in one scene where a man suddenly gets shot in the neck by a hitman he hired because the world is ending, a suicide victim’s body suddenly crashes onto protagonist’s windshield, and brief violence shown in a mostly comedic sense during a scene of street rioting and looting, with minor character using female as a shield when shots start ringing out around them; sexual content includes implied scene of fornication, and some crude dialogue from people at a final party the male protagonist is attending including a discussion of threesomes by a negative male character whose name is “Roache,” a married woman offers herself to the male protagonist and says “no one belongs to anyone anymore,” but protagonist rejects the immorality around him, and waitress surprises female lead by kissing her suddenly; no nudity, but brief female cleavage; alcohol use and drunkenness; drug use is discussed as one character raves about trying crack now that they’re going to die soon anyway, heroin is brought into a party but protagonist rejects the offer, woman smokes marijuana a couple times, and man drinks wife’s codeine cough syrup to ease his pain but stops; and, protagonist’s wife runs away from husband out of fear and rejection when they learn about coming apocalypse, people around protagonist lose their moral bearings in wake of approaching apocalyptic event, but he rejects their attitude, looting and rioting, and protagonist tries to commit suicide at his lowest point by drinking Windex but he survives.
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD is a poignant dramatic comedy, but it’s rated R. Steve Carell plays Dodge, an insurance salesmen whose wife run off when the news says that an asteroid will kill everyone on earth in three weeks. The coming apocalypse has made Dodge’s seemingly sedate and married friends go crazy too. Despite a bout with depression and suicide, Dodge remains mostly calm and decent. Back at his apartment building, Dodge meets Penny, a younger woman who just broke up with her boyfriend. Together, they take a road trip to help Dodge find his high school sweetheart. Instead, Dodge and Penny fall in love with each other.
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD is an emotionally powerful movie about two ordinary people placed in a very tough situation. Despite all the drama, there are some really funny scenes. The second half contains strong positive, redemptive elements of faith and values. However, as the world around the characters falls apart, there’s plenty of strong foul language, some lewd content, and drug references. This R-rated content in SEEKING A FRIEND demands extreme caution.