Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Movie Poster Image

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World



Last-minute life lessons in poignant romantic dramedy.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the movie presents a pretty bleak situation, the end of the world forces characters to find a certain purity and clarity in their lives. They must find the thing or person they love best to spend their final days with. Some characters struggle with discovering just what that thing is, while others try to find hope in possible survival. Ultimately, love, companionship, and acceptance are valued above all else.

Positive role models

Dodge has mostly drifted through life without taking chances or doing what he really wanted. But over the course of the movie, he learns to live, rather than avoid, the moments as they come. He learns to think selflessly, to take chances, and to grant (and accept) forgiveness. Penny is sometimes flighty, irresponsible, and overly impulsive, but she means well, and she clearly has a warm, loving heart.


A friendly truck driver thinks Dodge has been sent to kill him (people are hiring assassins to take them out before the end of the world). Shortly after, the driver is abruptly (and shockingly) killed by a single bullet; some blood is shown, and a dead body. Crowds riot, setting fires and causing destruction to people and property; there are gunshots and glimpses of dead bodies. A suicidal man falls on a car without warning (broken glass, a little blood). One character has a bunker full of weapons (and other survival gear). Occasional arguing, and a general sense of peril/despair.


Two characters have sex fairly early in the movie. Nothing besides kissing is shown, but they talk about it afterward. A character's wife tries to seduce Dodge, but he rebuffs her. In a diner, friendly waitresses and waiters make out with each other and with the main characters; it's implied that an orgy is about to begin. A woman flirts heavily with Dodge, but he isn't interested. Additional kissing.


Strong language includes fairly frequent use of words like "f--k" (written and spoken in various forms), "s--t," "d--k," "p---y," "oh my God," "a--hole," "damn," "dammit," "oh my God," and "tw-t."


Coke products are seen a few times; also Colgate, Dunkin' Donuts, ESPN, and some car models (notably Smart Car).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink heavily and do drugs (cocaine, heroin) at a debauched "end of the world" party. They're seen roaring drunk and/or high, and they urge kids to try the substances, too. Dodge drinks cough syrup with codeine over several scenes early on, to the point of drunkenness. Penny smokes marijuana to both help her get to sleep and to wake up. Some cigarette smoking as well.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a low-key romantic dramedy set during the last few weeks on Earth before an asteroid hits. As characters try to figure out how to cope and identify what matters most to them, there's a fair bit of uninhibited behavior, from excessive drinking to drug use (cocaine, heroin, weed) to casual sex and desperate hook-ups. That said, the movie's focus is much less on that reaction to the end of the world and much more on finding clarity and peace. Two characters have sex (nothing sensitive shown), and many others talk about sex or make sexual advances. Strong language includes "f--k" and "s--t"; violence includes two suicides (one direct and one via hired assassin) and rioting. Despite all this -- and the general sense of bleakness/despair underlining everything -- Seeking a Friend is actually very sweet and romantic.

What's the story?

A few weeks before the end of the world, Dodge (Steve Carell) finds himself alone; his wife has abruptly left him. Drifting through his final days, Dodge runs into a neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley), whom he has never spoken to before. A lost letter ties their fate together, and they hit the road, Dodge intent on finding his first love and Penny hoping to locate a private plane to get back to her parents in England. While on the road, they encounter all kinds of different people, each choosing to spend the world's final days in his or her own way. Also along the way, Dodge and Penny begin to discover that what's most important may actually be right in front of them.

Is it any good?


Screenwriter Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah's Infinte Playlist) makes her directorial debut with SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, and it's a stunner. Unlike many other romantic comedies/dramedies of recent years, it's actually funny and actually romantic -- heartbreakingly so, since there's no "happily ever after" in store. Scafaria's simple premise has conjured up a world in which even the most mundane behavior somehow becomes infinitely important, or perhaps even funny. (If you had one week left to live, would you mow your lawn? Go to work?)

The movie's mood is somewhat bleak but colored with fascinating characters, all of whom seem to have already existed in the margins of the story; they feel alive. Likewise, Scafaria's choice of music is sublime -- Penny carries an armful of treasured LP records with her, even without a turntable to play them -- ranging from the Beach Boys to Scott Wilson. Each song rings with new meaning in this context, and each character choice has huge connotations. When the final choice is made, it means the world.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Seeking a Friend for the End of the World depicts people's end-of-days behavior. How does their looming fate impact characters' behavior? Does it seem believable/realistic? What do you think you might do in that situation?

  • How do you think the movie might have been different if the world were ending through nuclear war or climate meltdown, rather than a runaway asteroid?

  • Are the characters role models? Are they intended to be?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 22, 2012
DVD/Streaming release date:October 23, 2012
Cast:Keira Knightley, Steve Carell
Director:Lorene Scafaria
Studio:Focus Features
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence

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Teen, 17 years old Written bybenbenben01 June 28, 2012

dont see this movie

im actually only ten and this movie had sexual parts and since this movie was not good for people who want funny we went to see magic mike rated r so if your gonna take your kid to a rated r movie DONT see this one magic mike was WAY better
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 16 year old Written byTsion June 29, 2012

Incredibly Moving and Fresh Adult Movie

Here's the unfairness behind the Hollywood system: a subpar movie like The Smurfs or Transformers will gross tens of millions dollars at the box office, and smaller, quirkier movies like Seeking a Friend for the End of the World will pass reasonably unnoticed. I'm not trying to slam the Smurfs or Transformers; those movies have their own dedicated fans. It's just that a movie as sensitive and insightful as "Seeking a Friend" comes along so rarely, it deserves to be a massive success when it does. The movie, which revolves around the actions of a man named Dodge (Steve Carell) when humanity is told it only has three weeks before the end of the world. Society instantly degrades and Dodge is surrounded by decadence and tragedy: his wife leaves him to be with her lover, his friends encourage him to gorge himself with drugs and meaningless sex, rioting and violence spread through the streets, and the body of a man who jumped from a building lands on Dodge's windshield. He finds meaning in making a deal with his neighbor, Penny (Kiera Knightley): if she drives him to reconnect with his long-lost love, he will provide means for her to spend her last days with her family. The two embark on a crazy road trip that ends, as promised, with the end of the world. This isn't one of those "oops, we're kidding, turns out the world won't end after all" type of movies. It's smarter and has more respect for its audience than that. By its end it has taken its characters on a splendid journey and revealed so much insight on life and love. The movie is for adults only. The early scenes (about the first half hour) are dark and depressing. When confronted by their impending doom, people go nuts. The body that falls on Dodge's car belongs to a man who jumped from a building. A married woman hits on Dodge, and a man encourages Dodge to take advantage of women due to them not caring about pregnancy, diseases, "d**k" size, or anything else. The man makes crude remarks about "raining p***y." A man encourages his elementary school aged daughter to chug a cocktail, telling her to "fight the burn." He also tells his teenage son "go f**k yourself." The movie contains about a dozen "f" words, most of which are used in that first half hour. The tone becomes more hopeful once Penny and Dodge embark on their journey. Along the way, they stop at a pub where it seems an orgy is about to begin (we see group kissing and caressing, but no sex or nudity. They leave before the orgy). A man who has paid an assassin to kill him unexpectedly is shot through the throat with blood splatter. Many characters, including Penny, use marijuana and appear to pop pills.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 9 years old June 22, 2012

Cool movie

Awesome comedy
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing