What would you do if the world was ending? We’re often posed with that question as an inanity used to understand you. It’s asked in slam books, memoirs, interviews but we never really quite treat it as real. To understand the immensity of everything we know vanishing in an instant, we have to enter this world written and directed by Lorene Scafaria.
‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ is not an ordinary movie. It lives with ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. They’re not just going to die as a race and civilization, but with foreknowledge of the same. Steve Carrell plays an insurance salesman who has lost meaning in selling whole-life insurance policies along with Keira Knightley, a neighbor he meets on the fire escape. It isn’t helping the situation that his wife has left him for another man in the three weeks preceding their extinction. The film deals with several themes in a humane manner which has the capacity to make us wryly laugh and cry at the same time. Loneliness, which doesn’t stop looming on the top of our heads, or the meaning of life, which evades us with an ever-greater certainty. The two set out on a road trip to fulfill their last greatest desires. Meet a loved one, gain the courage to do something they never did, but a road trip is never about the trip but the people you meet on the way. In this case, even the sides of themselves the two encounter in the trip.
They might fall in love. They might just be blatant momentary creature comfort for each other. They might not. The film doesn’t stop or wish to reach a Happily Ever After but explores all that even momentary relationships can hold in meaning for us. In the midst of the riots, the paranoia and the panic, finding something to live for in an irreversible Armageddon – someone perusing our existence, might just find it redeeming. Seeking a friend for the end of the world. Maybe that’s all we’re looking for.