1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"B" movie, "A" content: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

G.K. Chesterton was of course right when observed (I think it was in What's Wrong with the World?) that "if it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly." Some films are not exemplary in terms of production values, acting, and all the other goodies but they did some things well.

Today's example:

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was surprisingly warm and gentle for a film dealing with the moral catastrophe that precedes the extinction of the human race. It is a bit surreal when amid the debauchery and mayhem, much goes on as usual. For example, when the unlikely yet strangely likable couple, Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Kiera Knightley) get a bite to eat at the local "Friendsies" restaurant, the staff is warmer than ever and intoxicants flow freely, but no one seems all that concerned about the impending crack of doom. Alas, death (thankfully) is not the point of the film. The point is living life. Not living life at the level of an abstraction but with immediacy with what and who is front of you. Yes, it is a bit creepy when the inevitable relationship that grows between Dodge and Penny does flourish, but it also rings true and somehow right. Dodge gives up the quest for finding his high school sweetheart when he realizes he's chasing an illusion. Penny for all her flaws is real. She is present. The film is not a "realistic" end of the world set-piece, nor is it a romantic comedy. It is more appropriately a meditation on living morally and humanely while everything else comes crashing down.

Chesterton noted that what was wrong with the world was himself, thus pointing to the fact of Original Sin. He surely would have appreciated the paradox that what is wrong with the world is also what is so, so right with the world: human beings.

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