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Film Review: Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

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4/5

An apocalyptic rom-com might not be the top of your cinema must-see list this summer, but on the strength of Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World it probably should be!

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The WorldNot your average Hollywood cinematic fare this eschews the clichés of both the end-of-the-world action romp and the rom-com genres it is seemingly a part of.

Like Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, only sweet and charming; SAFFTEOW starts with Steve Carrell, as Dodge, sat listening to a radio announcement that reveals human-kinds last hope to prevent extinction from a falling comet has failed. His wife legs it never to be seen again. Her departure is far more crushing than the coming of ‘the end’. This sets the human tone of the piece perfectly.

This is the first of many genuinely funny and heart-warming moments as the rest of the film examines how everyday people would deal with their impending doom. It is this relationship aspect that is pushed to the fore with Armageddon reduced to side point, focussing on the developing relationship between Dodge and Keira Knightley’s quirky, free-spirit Penny.

SAFFTEOW threatens to be drowned in its own overblown sentimentality but through a subtle script and brilliantly understated, and believable, performances this use of sentiment is not only welcomed but draws you in until you genuinely care about the characters and their coming demise.

Steve Carrell does what he does best, playing his wounded, everyman schtick to perfection with superb comic timing. As always his best, and funniest, moments come when he is saying nothing at all!

Knightley puts in a surprisingly deep performance. Despite her predictable, female-staple of a character she is likably quirky and shows her true acting talent in a brilliantly delivered solo during a call home to her family (her last chance to speak to them before the end of the world).

Visually the whole affair is treated with abject realism, no apocalyptic greys or sepia-toned sadness - just how the world would look leading up to the end – in essence like every other day. This adds an unexpected level of gravitas – how exactly would the average Joe deal with knowing they would expire in weeks? The human resolve is what makes this film standout.

By the ending (which is out of step with what we have come to expect from such movies) you are left stunned, amused and content, floating on a cloud of empathy that few films can muster.

SAFFTEOW is boundlessly charming and utterly unpredictable. If all romantic comedies were produced with this much intelligence and heart I would proclaim it my favourite genre.

But if massive world-ending explosions or overblown and predictable romantic gestures are what you want from a movie, avoid this like the plague – your simple tastes will be better served elsewhere.

For the rest of us this is destined to be a cult classic in the same way Dan In Real Life and Lars And The Real Girl were – perfect understated comedy.




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