Last night, my husband and I watched a movie called “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”. The movie stars Kiera Knightly and Steve Carrell as the two main actors/actresses. The duo of those two alone intrigued my husband and I as the genre of move was a “Drama”. Funny man, Steve Carrell and amazingly intense, Kiera was a miss in my eyes at first, but in the end… the movie WRECKED me.
I’ll explain what I mean by “wrecked”. If you’ve ever been to a Christian Youth Group, then you likely familiar with what I’m about to describe. Wrecked, in this form, is terminology used to describe something that has moved you emotionally for the better. You become helpless and weak, yet strong and courageous as a result. A Youth Pastor will use the term wrecked to describe how a retreat changed him, or how hearing a heart string pulling story, moved him. It’s essentially about becoming vulnerable and allowing your emotions to become stirred and sorting them out and keeping only the good ones.
With the definition clarified, I feel it’s well time to get into the story of the movie. (With as little spoilers as possible, I hope!) Penny and Dodge are two neighbors who have lived in the same apartment building in New York for quite some time. They’ve almost never bumped into each other, but Penny has seen Dodge’s wife and Dodge has seen Penny’s boyfriend. Scientists announce that an asteroid is due to hit earth in three weeks. Chaos ensues. Dodge’s wife decides to leave him after the asteroid news does not interest him.
Penny decides to break up with her boyfriend after he allows her to miss the last commercial flight to her home, England. She sits on a set of fire escape stairs at the apartment building, crying. Dodge, after returning home from visiting friends, sees Penny and comforts her. They fall asleep watching TV. In the morning, Dodge realizes Penny has not awoken and decides to start his day, in the late afternoon she wakes up and notes that she can “sleep through just about anything”. After Penny returns to her apartment, Dodge opens up some wrongfully delivered mail that Penny returned to Dodge; a collection of around three years’ worth. Unaware, Penny tells Dodge indirectly, that Dodge’s wife was cheating on him for quite some time. Dodge storms off that night to a local park to attempt suicide by drinking window cleaner and a whole bottle of cough syrup.
He awakes that morning, alive, to find a puppy abandoned beside him with a note reading “Sorry”. Dodge names the dog as such and takes him back to his apartment for companionship. He feeds Sorry and opens his mail. That evening, Dodge opens a letter addressed to him in a red envelope written by an old high school sweetheart around three months ago, declaring her love for him.
A riot starts to ensue outside the apartment and Dodge fears for his safety as a rock is thrown through his living room window. He enters Penny’s apartment with Sorry to find the ex-boyfriend, Owen, there. Owen accuses Dodge of sleeping with Penny, to which Dodge denies. He finds Penny sleeping in her bedroom, waking her to tell her they have to all leave immediately. Penny, Owen, Dodge and Sorry all leave the apartment, tripping over dead bodies and garbage in the streets, looking for Penny’s parked car. When they locate her car, Owen steps out, guiding her out of the parking space with anger and frustration. Penny drives off with Dodge, leaving Owen behind… assuring Dodge that he will be okay.
Once out of the city, Dodge tells Penny that if she can take him to meet his High School Sweetheart, then he would bring her to someone who can fly her to her family. The car runs out of gas and Dodge, frustrated, yells at Penny for not delivering his mail sooner, allowing him more time to find Olivia. Penny feels she ‘ruined’ Dodge’s life and finds them a ride. Dodge is hesitant of the driver, as he speaks about how Dodge is going to “do the thing” and carries a shovel in the back of the vehicle. The man stops the vehicle to use the washroom in a nearby field. Penny and Sorry leave to do the same after the man returns. He is about to explain something to Dodge, when he is shot in the throat, killing the driver instantly. An assassin car speeds away as Penny and Dodge realize why he was acting so strange. Penny and Dodge bury him in the nearby field and take the vehicle to continue their journey.
They stop at a restaurant to grab a couple of drinks and a bite to eat. As the meal goes on, the patrons and workers start dancing, which breaks out in an orgy and they leave. Laughing their way to the vehicle, Penny and Dodge hop inside. Penny and Dodge become intimate with each other, leaving Dodge feeling with regret over how young Penny is. Once they continue on, they are pulled over by police and thrown in a holding cell for the night. A young man is also in a cell with a sign that reads “The End is Near” for disturbing the peace. Dodge explains to Penny when the man falls asleep, that he is sleeping so soundly because he is content that the world is ending and has no bitter feelings. That morning, another officer lets them go, explaining how some policemen in the town are taking their jobs too seriously. He gives them a ride to a town where an ex-boyfriend of Penny lives, a man who created a bomb shelter with utilities and food for six months. Penny is able to call her family (Phones were disconnected worldwide) and becomes emotional in the conversations. The ex-boyfriend explains to Dodge he wants her to restart the human race, after they survive the upcoming asteroid attack.
Penny and Dodge take one of the ex-boyfriend vehicles, under the guise that Penny will return. They find Olivia, the high school sweetheart’s home. No one is home, so Penny and Dodge spend the night having dinner and talking. Penny finds a letter locating Olivia’s parents’ home, so they set out in the morning to drive there. When they arrive, Dodge leaves a letter at the doorstep and quickly returns to the car. He drives off, confusing Penny. Dodge tells her he believes Olivia was there, but decided to only leave the letter.
They stop the vehicle as they approach a long line of people crossing the road, heading toward a beach where a priest is baptizing men, women and children by the hundreds. Penny and Dodge step out of the car and walk over, watching. They kiss affectionately while there and spend time that evening with the families playing music, dancing and socializing. Dodge teaches Penny how to play a prized harmonica given to him by his father.
The morning comes and they set off to a place called Somerset County. They stop at a large, spacious home… where they are greeted by an older gentleman. The man turns out to be Dodge’s father, Frank, who lives alone. Dodge and his father have a mild confrontation with each other in regards to the father’s absence in Dodge’s life. They reconcile and have dinner together with Penny. She falls asleep that evening and Dodge sets her in the cockpit of his father’s airplane. He gives her his harmonica and tells her she is “the love of his life”. The plane flies off into the distance and Dodge returns back to New York.
Dodge turns on the TV in his apartment to watch the local news. The anchorman announces that the asteroid is going to have an early arrival to earth: just 16 hours away from impact. He signs off the air for good, leaving another means of communication to be dismantled from the people. Then, Dodge enters Penny’s apartment to listen to a few of her records. After a few minutes, the power shuts off for the earth. He lights a couple of candles and notices her standing in the hallway. wondering why he left her. They hug while she explains she convinced his father to turn around and take her back to the apartment. With only a few short hours left, Penny and Dodge lie in Penny’s bed. Penny mentions that she could not leave without him. She begins to panic as their time together grows shorter and shorter. Dodge comforts her and distracts her by asking about her family. A loud explosion is heard in the background as Penny begins to cry and hyperventilate. She says she is scared and wishes they could have saved each other. Dodge tells her warmly that they did save each other as another explosion is heard in the background. Penny is relaxed with Dodge as the asteroid closes in, fading the room into white.
Now, if you are not moved to tears… wow. Even my husband was mentioning how sad/ emotional it was. I will go into a little bit of detail why this movie made me cry… which is a feat in itself because I normally do not cry at movies or TV shows.
- The older I get, the deeper I need to realize that no matter what happens in my life, is that I am going to meet Jesus someday. It will happen.
- This movie showed what it was like for people to do things without regret. People took drugs, had illicit relations with anyone, ate what they wanted and did what they wanted. People were scared at the thought of death; each dealing with it in their own way. Dodge mentions in the movie that the only reason he got married, was so that he wouldn’t have to die alone. Frankly, it is sad to think about how much we cope with and how time affects us so.
Full Disclosure: I have many regrets, dreams, aspirations, goals, mistakes, happenstance sthat make me think about how much I never want to die. Many a time, I’ve wanted to fix things I have done, things I am going to do… and yet, I do not. It is a struggle of being a young adult. What you choose now affects the future and the choices you make, sometimes have permanent repercussions. What we DON’T do also affects us.
Think about the bucket list. It is a list of things we keep track of that we have not accomplished yet in our lives. What if we as a people were given three weeks to live on the earth, with what we depend on taken away slowly? (Flights, Internet, TV, Phone service, Power?) In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, we see people take their bucket lists and try their hardest to accomplish everything in a short amount of time. We also see the human race do/ say outrageous things in the name of Armageddon.
What is stopping us now from accomplishing more in less time? Do we stretch out our lives in this chaos of time, knowing we have more of it available to us?