Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a 2012 American science-fiction romantic comedy-drama film, written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, in her feature directorial debut. The film stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley as a pair of strangers who meet and form an unexpected bond as they help each other find closure in their lives before an asteroid wipes out all life on Earth. The inspiration for the title was a line from Chris Cornell's song "Preaching the End of the World", from his 1999 debut solo album Euphoria Morning.
|Seeking a Friend for the End of the World|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lorene Scafaria|
|Written by||Lorene Scafaria|
|Edited by||Zene Baker|
|Distributed by||Focus Features|
|Box office||$9.6 million|
The film was theatrically released on June 22, 2012 in the United States by Focus Features. It received mixed reviews from critics and was a box-office bomb, earning $9.6 million on a $10 million budget. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc and made available for digital streaming in the United States on October 23, 2012.
In New York City, a news report is broadcast informing the world that a mission to stop an incoming 70-mile wide asteroid known as "Matilda" has failed and that the asteroid will make impact in three weeks, destroying all life on Earth. Dodge Petersen (Steve Carell) and his wife, Linda (Nancy Carell), listen to the broadcast from the side of the road. When Dodge expresses disinterest, Linda disgustedly leaves the vehicle without a word. At home, Dodge reminisces about his high school sweetheart, Olivia, when he notices his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) crying on the fire escape. She has just broken up with her boyfriend Owen (Adam Brody) for making her miss her last opportunity to see her family in England. At her apartment, Penny gives Dodge three years' worth of his mail that was incorrectly delivered to her and, in the process, unwittingly tells him that his wife was having an affair. Dodge storms off into the night, guzzling codeine-laced cough syrup and window cleaner in a suicide attempt. He wakes up in a park, with a dog tethered to his foot and a note on his sweater reading "Sorry", which becomes the dog's name. Dodge takes Sorry home, opens the old mail, and is surprised to discover a three-month-old letter from Olivia, which explains that he was "the love of her life." Later, a riot breaks out on his block. Dodge and Penny abandon the self-centered Owen amid the rioters, with Dodge explaining to Penny that he knows someone who could fly her to England if she helps him find Olivia. She agrees, and the two set off with Sorry for Dodge's hometown in Delaware.
Along the way, Dodge and Penny run out of gas, share a bizarre experience with suicidal motorist Glenn (William Petersen), witness the eruption of an orgy at a restaurant, have sex in a pick-up truck, and spend a night in jail. They get a ride to Camden, New Jersey, where they meet Penny's ex-boyfriend, Speck (Derek Luke), who is prepared for the apocalypse. Speck has a working satellite phone in his bunker and lets Penny contact her family. Penny and Dodge borrow a car from Speck and eventually make it to Olivia's family home. Dodge and Penny walk up toward the door of the home but find no one home and then spend the day together; they realize a mutual affection. Penny discovers a letter from Olivia to her parents, which reveals Olivia's address. Penny and Dodge drive to Olivia's home, where Dodge leaves a letter to Olivia and expresses his feelings for Penny. Later, they go to the house of the man who Dodge promised could take Penny to England. The man turns out to be Dodge's estranged father, Frank (Martin Sheen). After making amends with Frank, Dodge puts a sleeping Penny into his father's plane, whispering to her that she is the real love of his life. Frank and Penny depart, leaving Dodge behind. Dodge takes refuge in Penny's apartment and awaits his imminent death until Penny unexpectedly returns, upset that Dodge allowed her to leave. The two lie in bed and comfort each other as they feel the tremor of the asteroid's impact. Penny expresses regret at not having met Dodge sooner, while Dodge assures her that their meeting had been opportune. Penny smiles as everything fades to white.
- Steve Carell as Dodge Petersen
- Keira Knightley as Penelope "Penny" Lockhart
- William Petersen as Glenn
- Melanie Lynskey as Karen Amalfi
- Adam Brody as Owen
- Tonita Castro as Elsa
- Mark Moses as Anchorman
- Derek Luke as Alan Speck
- Connie Britton as Diane
- Patton Oswalt as Roache
- Rob Corddry as Warren
- Rob Huebel as Jeremy
- Gillian Jacobs as Katie
- T.J. Miller as Darcy
- Amy Schumer as Lacey
- Jim O'Heir as Sheriff
- Martin Sheen as Frank Petersen
- Nancy Carell as Linda Petersen
- Roger Aaron Brown as Alfred
- Aleister Hundgen-Kazlauskas as Sorry
Lorene Scafaria wanted to "tell the story of boy meets girl with a really ticking clock", prompted by recent events in her own life, including a "death in the family, a breakup, and a new relationship." Scafaria also took inspiration from her experience during the September 11 attacks. Having recently moved from New York to Los Angeles, the attacks left her feeling "stranded" and so she ended up getting in contact with old friends. Later, she commented that she "found it interesting that this cataclysmic event would have such an effect on my own human behavior and relationships." In terms of movies Scafaria found inspiration in films such as 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. The story, specifically that of an "unexpected romance blossoming between two strangers while on an impromptu road trip", shares similarities to that of her previous screenplay, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and it was while titling the previous movie that she thought, "What if you took forever off the table?" Scafaria said that Adam Brody helped her with the script, giving her a male perspective to the soundtrack.
It was the first movie Carrell filmed after ending his seven-year run on The Office. His character's wife was played by his actual wife. The scene where she dumps him was filmed on their 17th wedding anniversary; the director got them a cake and the crew sang Happy Anniversary.
The film received mixed reviews from critics, with many praising the cast, particularly Knightley and Carell. According to Rotten Tomatoes, "tender, charming, and well-acted, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is unfortunately hamstrung by jarring tonal shifts and a disappointing final act" with 55% of critics giving it a positive rating, based on 172 reviews. On Metacritic the film has a score of 59 out of 100, based on reviews from 36 critics. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade C+ on scale of A to F.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film a positive review and said, "The best parts of this sweet film involve the middle stretches, when time, however limited, reaches ahead, and the characters do what they can to prevail in the face of calamity. How can I complain that they don't entirely succeed? Isn't the dilemma of the plot the essential dilemma of life?" Joe Neumaier, of the New York Daily News, said that the film was "One of the year's most emotionally affecting movies." Film critic Nathan Heller wrote in Vogue magazine that the script was "desperately in need of a good edit" and commended the performances of Knightley and Carell: "Carell and, more surprisingly, Knightley are comedians proficient enough to sell the banter." Peter Debruge of Variety magazine wrote: "The end of the world can't come fast enough in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, a disastrously dull take on the disaster-movie formula."
The film performed poorly on its opening weekend, earning only $3 million, but managed to debut at Number 4 on the UK Box Office for the week ending July 15, 2012. The film earned a worldwide total of $9.6 million against a production budget of $10 million.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc and made available for digital streaming in the United States on October 23, 2012.
- Wouldn't It Be Nice - Performed by The Beach Boys
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- In The Time Of My Ruin - Performed by Frank Black
- Set Adrift On Memory Bliss - Performed by PM Dawn
- The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore) - Performed by The Walker Brothers
- The Air That I Breathe - Performed by The Hollies
- Dance Hall Days - Performed by Wang Chung
- Ooh - Performed by Scissor Sisters
- This Guy's In Love With You - Performed by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
- Stay With Me - Performed by The Walker Brothers
- Dodge Walks Home/The Beach - Jonathan Sadoff / Rob Simonsen
- Home to Sacramento - Performed by The Steam Machine
- Cinco de Hiphop - Performed by Francisco Santacruz
- New Day - Performed by Hallo Moon
- Pastel Lights - Performed by Ishi
- Everybody Have Fun Tonight - Performed by Wang Chung
- On My Radio - Performed by The Selecter
- My Time To Shine - Performed by Guilty Simpson
- Let's Go Out Tonight - Performed by Lions
- Cavaleade - Written and Performed by Roger Renaud
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- The Cherry Tree - Written and Performed by Steve Sidwell
- Bopology - Written and Performed by Ray Davies
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- "Commentary: 'Norah' had screenwriter wanting to be 16 again". The Hollywood Reporter. October 2, 2008. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
- "For 'End of the World' writer/director Lorene Scafaria, music is key". The Washington Post. June 21, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
- Vilkomerson, Sara (April 17, 2012). "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Fine, Marshall. "Interview: Director Lorene Scafaria Is Seeking a Friend". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- O'Neal, Sean (February 10, 2012). "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Scudder, Annie (June 20, 2012). "Lorene Scafari\a on Seeking a Friend For the End of the World and How Ex Adam Brody Weighed In". TresSugar. Sugar Inc. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Malcom, Shawna (June 17, 2012). "Steve Carell on His 'Emotional' Farewell Gift from the Cast of 'The Office'". Parade.
- "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
- "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World". Metacritic.
- "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
- AMY KAUFMAN (June 24, 2012). "'Brave' slays 'Vampire Hunter,' debuts with strong $66.7 million". Los Angeles Times.
it too received a dismal C+ CinemaScore.
- Ebert, Roger (June 20, 2012). "Seeking A Friend For The End of The World Review". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- NEUMAIER, JOE. "Movie Review: Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World". NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- "The Last Ones Left: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World". Vogue. Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- Debruge, Peter (June 19, 2012). "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World". Variety.