My cheeks are still wet from tears as I begin writing this! I’ve always been terrified and equally fascinated by the apocalypse, both in the film world and in reality. It’s a concept that is so unfathomable to me, and something that I don’t really like to think about. But this film handled the subject in a light-hearted, comedic way that pulled at the ol’ heart strings many a time throughout without being too doom and gloom. I’m not really a big fan of rom-com, but when they are done well, they soon become a favourite and easy to watch film, whilst still having a long-lasting effect.
The film stars Steve Carell and Kiera Knightley who play Dodge and Penny, two neighbours who have rarely even set eyes on each other before the announcement of asteroid named Matilda on an unstoppable and devastating collision course with earth. We are thrown in along side the characters of Dodge and very-soon-to-be-ex-wife Linda who abruptly, and without reason, literally runs away from Dodge. And that’s not the beginning of his problems. Although in a fair amount of the films that Carell stars in his characters appear to be the underdog who gets the girl, he does also have the capacity to play these roles very seriously. I felt that the character of Dodge drew characteristics from his character of Frank in Little Miss Sunshine. He is very sweet and very serious and a likable character. I was never really much of a Kiera Knightley fan, but after seeing her in films like Atonement and A Dangerous Method, I have slowly begun to warm to her, even more so after seeing her play Penny. A review was left on LoveFilm saying that her character was ‘annoyingly kooky’ which I have to disagree with. At points her character does seem to fall flat of any real back story apart from being a weed smoker and a lover of records. But as the narrative develops and she divulges what she hopes to do before the end of the world, I really began to liken towards her. The two at first prove to be an unlikely pairing, but never at any point does the film make the two dislike the other at all. In fact, their story is a rather pleasant one to watch and take part in. This is a film with an ending that really gets you right in the soul, or at least it was for me. It couldn’t of ended in a more perfect way, in my opinion. I wouldn’t want to say too much about it, and I’ll leave it down to your imagination as to whether you think the director decided to chicken out of ending humanity or to go through with it.
The narrative itself is a very easy going one at that, with the odd character here and there to demonstrate how society would perhaps react in such a situation. But the real story is between Penny and Dodge and the importance of companionship, and arguably, finding what it really means to be human. But that’s really pushing it.
All in all, although this film doesn’t stand out as an extremely stylistic film, it does stand out as a film about humanity and is simply enjoyable! The ending is tragically beautiful and the relationship between Dodge and Penny is certainly very heartwarming. I’d definitely recommend this film for those who enjoy a simple watch that isn’t too challenging but still has substance.