Considering the Big ‘L’

I had seen Seeking a Friend for the End of the World on Friday and afterward expected to write a column for the Ledger about apocalypse dynamics. Well, I saw Moonrise Kingdom tonight and was pretty swept up by the power of it, so I’m changing the game plan. So here’s a less handsome version of what I planned to write about Seeking a Friend. Don’t be sore. Go see Moonlight Kingdom and you’ll feel better about life in gen. (That’s short for “general.”)

Seeking a Friend is a fine movie. That’s enough rating. Here’s what I really want to say:

Remember a few months back when the Powerball jackpot reached some obscene dollar amount? The question everybody was asking everybody else was, “what would you do with a take like that?” Boy, people emptied their dreams right out onto tables for us to peruse. Many mentioned the typical private jets and gifts to family and friends, but I also heard through some grapevines at least a couple of people said they would leave their spouses for guaranteed trade-ins. Whohahoah.

Anyway, the idea of an apocalypse, like winning the lotto is a game changer for sure, and the scenarios that Steve Carell’s and Keira Knightly’s characters navigate through in Seeking a Friend represent a full spectrum of reactions to such change. There are all the normal things you’d expect such as existential moping, bucket lists, free love and rioting. But there are many aspects about the end of the world as it’s portrayed here that you probably wouldn’t have considered right-off.

Particularly touching is the way some characters create new, more intimate families amongst themselves from the people near them. Such are the hilarious folks at Friendsies, a TGIFridays-like feel-good restaurant where thanks to no certain amounts of ecstasy they feel really good. But this is not pure self-centered hedonism like we witness from others in the movie, you find yourself loving them in the way that they LOVE everything.

Some people, probably for their own sanity live in complete denial and they mow their lawns and do their jobs such that you wonder if they ever got the news that these are their last hours.

While those examples are unique portrayals of the what happens when the end is near, it’s really the Carell character’s struggles with his own life state that draws you nearest this story. There is a solution to his final troubles, and you can’t help but enjoy the voyage to alleviate them. Knightly too makes for an endearing companion along the way.

At some point you should watch this movie, if nothing else but to give a thought to the theme itself: Life, the Big ‘L.’ Don’t go too deep though. Seeking a Friend is often very sappy and over-sentimental, but it’s surely entertaining.

Some movies that I liked centering on the Big ‘L’ as it’s topic: Ikuru (1952), Bang the Drum Slowly (1973), About Schmidt (2002), In Bruges (2008), 25th Hour (2002)

And I’ve rated a bunch of other movies at


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