Wanted: A Friend For the End of the World

What if you only had three weeks before the world ends? Who would you want to spend it with? Your family, your spouse, your sweetheart, your best friend? What things would you do once you've made your choice?

I have in a short period of time seen three remarkable movies. Some remarkable because of the acting and writing and one--this one, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, because of it's intriguing subject. Let me get this out of the way first. If you are looking for stellar acting and script and the cleverest of dialogues, don't see this one, see Moonrise Kingdom which I reviewed previously. But if you want to see a thoroughly engaging movie about the end of the world and a completely enjoyable love story involving an unlikely, but charming relationship-challenged couple, then by all means, this movie is for you. In the other film I reviewed, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the writer explored the choices you would make if you were in the last years of your life. This one asks the same questions, but shortens the period to just twenty one days.

Of course the title gives away the ending--the shortest "happily ever after" in history. But don't let that stop you. Knowing about the end frees you up to enjoy it and I absolutely did. No one else in the story is ever developed enough for you to get attached to them nor do the wacky approaches to living out your last days ever take center stage so you are completely involved with the two likeable, if clueless, characters.

Dodge and Penny, occupy neighboring apartments, but have never actually gotten to know each other. Demoralized by the rapid exit of his wife, Dodge tries to get penny somehow to her family in Britain. Burdened by the guilt of neglecting to give Dodge a letter from the high school love of his life, Penny is just as determined to help Dodge find her. Together with a cute, abandoned dog, they set off on a journey of discovery that helps them to see who they really want to be with when life as they know it ceases to exist.

Lorene Scafaria on the set of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Lorene Scafaria on the set of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Kiera Knightly as Penny
Kiera Knightly as Penny
Steve Carrell as Dodge and "Sorry" the dog
Steve Carrell as Dodge and "Sorry" the dog
Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) as Diane
Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) as Diane

Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) wrote the screenplay and debuts as director. It stars Academy Award nominee Kiera Knightley as Penny and Golden Globe Award winner Steve Carell as Dodge with a cameo appearance by Martin Sheen as Dodge's in absentia dad. The film explores what we would all do if the end of humanity was just around the corner. Scafaria gives lip service to the more extreme ways of acting out in your last days and then spends the rest of the movie in an almost serene study of what is really important to you when the world's demise is imminent. In a comical scene, a small town officer sticks to the letter of the law and hauls Dodge and Penny into jail even though the world is ending in days.

Lorene, the director and screenwriter is an actress and singer/songwriter herself which qualifies her as a candidate I might want to spend quality "last days" time with. You wouldn't want to miss out on some witty and insightful commentary as you watch society unravel. I know everyone who reads this will probably say they would spend it with their family--but for the sake of discussion in this review/article/forum thread--I will concentrate on the idea of a special someone, who because of their unique relationship with you is the one you most want to hang out with. (And I know I ended the last sentence with a preposition and started the next one with a conjunction, but give me a break, we have a 70 mile in diameter meteor hurtling towards the earth.)

Speaking of writing, there are several writers here on HP that I would be privileged to watch the final sunsets with. I would have enjoyed swapping poetic wisdom with Chris A. and looking back over the final days with him it appears I did just that. I would not feel like anything I say or write would be complete without a comment from my long time good friends who loyally show up with their take on my little articles and always leave me with encouraging thoughts. If we aren't together when it comes, know I really appreciate you all and I would not go through an apocalypse without making quality contact with as many of you as I could manage. If doom's day really does come on the scene, you are all warmly invited to an "End of the World Celebration and Winsome Reflection Conference" --I know some of the best coastal or mountain views and we can all hang out there. (Big grin on his face.)

There are those who maintain a relationship just for the sake of appearances and the movie begins with the rapid disintegration of these in favor of ones based on sincere and true affinity for each other. If nothing else, the film causes us to examine our activities and our relationships. Is this really the job I want to be doing with my last days? Are these the friends I want to hang out with when I only have a little bit of time left? Is this the love I want to take with me into eternity?

With these thoughts in mind, I've put together a little checklist for you to put on the wall where you store your rations of bottled water and flashlights.

Ten Things to do at The End of the World

1. Make peace with your Maker--this is one journey you'll be glad you have a reservation on the other end.

2. Who you are is all you can take with you when your time comes--resist maxing out your credit cards, looting or violence--a lot of people think that there is no accountability if everyone and everything will be destroyed, but your character is the most precious treasure you have and the only one that will last.

3. Be generous with the resources and time you have left. Some groups in the movie were survivalists types who guarded and hoarded. If you are with me when the time comes, you are welcome to share my rice, cornbread and pinto beans and anything else in the cupboard or freezer I was clever enough to stockpile. I can tell you that I have the finest Bose speakers and enough quality mp3's to keep us in musical heaven until the real thing comes along. When the power runs out I have about ten acoustic guitars to keep us amused. Come on, join me in a chorus of "Tan me hide when I'm dead Fred, tan me hide when I'm dead..."

4. Do what you've put off. Go ahead and try that extreme sport you've been avoiding as too risky or say what you really feel to someone you've admired from afar.

5. Forgive everyone, forget every wrong, approve of everyone you can and wherever possible, be a beacon of encouragement whenever the opportunity presents itself. Don't bother to tell your boss or nemesis what you really think. You have much more important things to do with your last few hours than to vent on unfortunate people who will be lonely and unhappy going into that dark night.

6. Eat anything you want. I'm not kidding. Pull out the fine china, the real silver, the best linens and enjoy the best meal you can find--and share it with as many of the ones you love that you can. Seriously, what have you been saving it for?

7. Dump politics and demagoguery of every kind. When the end is near who cares if your pet political agenda is met or not. Hug a Democrat if you are a Republican and vice versa--in fact, whether or not you have an affiliation, hug everyone you can--believe me, hugs may be the most valuable commodity when Armageddon approaches.

8. Realize that your family is a lot bigger now. Some people just huddle with their immediate family, but when time is almost up, no man is an island, and we are all part of each other.

9. Find someone whose eyes you want to look into as you count out the last seconds. Even though you are part of everyone else, let's face it. There is one person on this planet that you'd rather be with than anyone else--and that one individual is the friend you are seeking for the end of the world.

10. Become an expert in love. Learn the language, the practice, the self-sacrifice and the joy of love. When the clock is ticking its last, love is the only thing that can slow it down and make your last seconds seem like a lifetime.

More by this Author

  • Secretariat - Some Risks Are Worth Taking

    What if you knew a secret that few others knew or could even understand. What if there was something in your life that so captured your hopes, dreams and imagination that you risked everything to see the dream develop...

  • The Most Watched Movies of All Time

    I love movies. Next to a good book there is nothing that can capture your attention and fuel your emotions like a well written and superbly directed movie. In this article I have listed my personal pick of movies that...

  • Why Men Love a Muse

    What is it about an attractive or intriguing woman that turns an ordinary man into a creative whirlwind? What magical process enables him to invent, to sculpt, to paint, to write or to compose a masterpiece out of thin...

Comments 24 comments

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 4 years ago from India

Oh Wise Winsome! I heartily approve of your list...except for the extreme sport idea! :D

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha, of course I didn't mean you FP. I know you will embrace your last hours with grace and dignity--or as Garfield says "If you are patient and wait long enough, nothing will happen."

Thanks for checking in. I promise to have lots of lasagna at the End of the World Party. =: )

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 4 years ago from India

You are a true friend, indeed! :)

TKs view profile image

TKs view 4 years ago from The Middle Path

Great list, Winsome. My personal favorite is the second.

Having Talking Heads, "We're on the Road to Nowhere," is an excellent choice for the sound track too.

quicksand profile image

quicksand 4 years ago

Aw, c'mon Winnie, December 21st is a loooong way to go!

Li Galo profile image

Li Galo 4 years ago from Mainly the USA but Sometimes Abroad

I enjoyed this article. I live my life according to most of your list and hope more will be inspired to do the same by your words. Thanks :)

i scribble profile image

i scribble 4 years ago

I saw this movie soon after its debut, which I had greatly anticipated. As a delightful romantic comedy and lighthearted study of human nature, it did not disappoint. However, I was disappointed that the premise involved an asteroid strike. I was really hoping that the creators of this movie would be brave enough to use the very real and imminent threat of climate change as its premise for the end of our world. Instead, we got another "safe" sci-fi premise 2012 apocalyptic movie which doesn't enlighten anyone about the climate crisis, but instead tends to lull people into complacency. I hope people will not accuse me of politicizing this discussion, because the forces of nature and the laws of science don't care about anyone's political agenda. I make this point because I care deeply about my son and all the other sons and daughters who deserve a bright future.

Winsome, nice article and I like your bucket list.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Tony, thanks for the nice comment and suggestion. I had a song from a group called Yello that was very close to the idea of finding that special one to share your last times with but I may have to write one myself.

I agree with you, if we could get number two we wouldn't have to worry about much else. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Q, you are right and I hope you find someone special who can pull you out by then. You must be about up to your chin by now. (he laughs to himself)

Thanks for stopping by before the end, good to hear from you. =: )

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi LG, glad you enjoyed the article and also list. Which extreme sport are you trying out--I sort of see you as a glacier skier. Hmmm? =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi i Scribble, of course you are welcome to talk about other reasons to find someone special other than a meteor, although the disaster movie that specifically targets global warming consequences--The Day After Tomorrow--was an amazing box office success. It took in to date over 600 million, is the highest grossing movie ever filmed in Canada and is third worldwide for movies not in first place. Hollywood has delivered for that topic. This movie has nothing to do with the cause really, it's just a predictable, unstoppable event that allows the writers to explore what we do at the end.

Thanks for coming over and for the kind words. =:)

MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean

Especially like you ten things to do! Things to think about. Thanks for sharing.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

My pleasure MD, probably wouldn't hurt to do some of them before the end of the world is near. Thank you for the visit, read and gracious comment. =:)

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 4 years ago from Tampa Bay

Sounds like a great movie theme, and I love the two main actors. I've thought about this premise before, of living our lives as if each day is our last but then I also think of living our lives as if each day is our first! Either way, we can never lose our sense of wonder and appreciation for life and love. Your end of the world celebration sounds sensational. Thanks for the review, I may have to watch this one!

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Rebekah, at the first sighting of an inbound meteor, consider yourself invited to the celebration. In the mean time, this little movie is as good a practice exercise as any. I think it is interesting that they start out with him doing everything he can to get her to her family and then she turns it around to helping him find his.

Maybe that's the hallmark of the best relationships, having what you want is helping each other get what they want and finding out that what you both really wanted all along is each other.

So nice to hear from you, hope you enjoy the movie. =: )

Btw, if you haven't seen Moonrise Kingdom, you might enjoy reading my review.


cameciob profile image

cameciob 4 years ago

Winsom, I like your list of 10 things . Actually I believe that these ten things are to be done every single day, except maybe the food part, as if it is unhealthy and the end of the world doesn't come then it may be better to stick with your habits.

And thanks for reviewing this movie. I saw the previews and I thought I would like to see it. Now I'm sure I will enjoy it.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi C, nice of you to drop by before the end of the world and visit. You are welcome, it was fun to watch and then think a bit about the whole idea. In fact, the idea of watching it again knowing what I know now about it appeals to me. All I need is some fresh strawberries, sour cream and brown sugar and I'll be ready to go.

I agree with you about the 10 things--thankfully I didn't make them commandments so no pressure. =: )

RunAbstract profile image

RunAbstract 4 years ago from USA

Sounds like a great flick, and I hadn't even heard of it! Now I HAVE to see it!

Great review!

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey RA, what a nice result of writing. Reminds me of the old speech classes where you had to choose between to inform, to persuade or to...can't remember the other ones, but you know what I mean. Hopefully I informed as well as persuaded. I really think you'll enjoy it.

Thanks for coming by, =:)

profile image

Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

Wow. An amazing hub. Absolutely breathtaking.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you, thank you Phoebe, you are definitely invited to the end of the world party. Mother Nature will supply all the fireworks. =: )

profile image

Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

I'll be there with bells on.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Wonderful hub and here's to many more hubs to come.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Eddy what a nice and positive thing to say. I will endeavor to live up to that. Thank you for visiting the end of the world retrospective. =: )

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article