SEEKING A FRIEND…

What would you do if your time (and the time of everyone around you) was limited to the next three weeks? This film explores how the routines of civilization, repressed desires, and deeply held wounds give way under the pressure. Funny in the beginning; touching at the end. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY BOTH OF US. Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku.

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You wake up one morning, turn on the news, and learn that a huge asteroid is heading toward earth. Facing certain destruction in a matter of days, what would YOU do? Yes, this very long and somewhat weird title–Seeking a Friend for the End of the World–is a bit of a turn-off, but Lorene Scafaria’s film is really lovely and very surprising.

If I sound astonished it’s because Seeking a Friend… stars two actors–Steve Carrell and Keira Knightly–who’ve never done much for me in the past. Prior to seeing Seeking a Friend, I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to see a new film by either of them (in fact, I’m sure I’ve taken a pass on films by both of them that weren’t in “my niche”). But having seen Seeking a Friend… , I now wonder if perhaps I’ve underestimated both of them. That speaks not only to their performances, of course, but also to the quality of Scafaria’s screenplay as well as her terrific debut as a director. She obviously saw what she wanted in them when she cast them, and they both delivered for her.

Unfortunately, due to a timing fluke, Seeking a Friend… is being compared to Melancholia (the Lars von Trier film which arrived on our shores last year). Believe me: these two films have very little in common except for, OK, sure, an asteroid. But Melancholia is ponderous, pretentious, heavy-handed, and dull. I hated it, I fled the theatre as soon as it ended, and I’ve barely given it a thought since. Seeking a Friend…, on the other hand, is as light as a feather, and I carried it with me for days afterwards. Even now, the thought of one particular scene at the beach (no spoilers here!) fills my heart with a warm glow.

Folks, the asteroid is a metaphor. The message is to make every day count. Sounds trite in the abstract, but even though I saw it weeks ago, many scenes still hold fast in my mind with great specificity. Brava, Lorene!

Photo © Darren Michaels/Focus Features

PS: Writer/Director Lorene Scafaria was in Chicago on June 5th to promote Seeking a Friend… and I am so pleased that I had the chance to meet with her one-on-one. Click HERE to read highlights from our chat.

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