|The End is Nigh|
... These are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.
But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
From Dead Poet's Society
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
As I suspect we have in common, I enjoy TEOTWAWKI themed movies, which can be divided into three broad categories: It's about to happen, it's happening, and it happened.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is one of the former, and I loved it!
What sets this movie apart is pervasive and (to me) apealing understatement.
The Apocalyspe approaches in silence. There are no heroics (at least those with a capital H). No violent conflict (the one instance of personal violence is... um... consentual). No deus ex machina. Its music is (with one ironic exception) low key and nostalgic (they even manage to avoid It's The End of the World as We Know It, our theme song).
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World begins with the news that the last-chance attempt to avert the End of the World has failed irrevocably. From this point, we follow Dodge (played by Steve Carell) and Penny (Kiera Knightley) through their last days. They follow the heart through a landscape of rather banal urban and sub-urban scenes and scenarios, peopled by ordinary citizens ticking off plebeian bucket-lists.
This sounds condescending, but I don't mean it to be, nor do I think that was the movie's intent. While we ordinary folk are somewhat caricatured and verge on pathetic, we retain -- in the very midst of our modest aspirations -- that low-key dignity pertaining to Everyman and Woman.
The question driving the plot is what will you do with your last few weeks of life? Good question. One asked of each of us. Most of us aren't going to be finishing up the great American novel, touching up a painting for the aborted ages or resolving the last chords of our operatic opus. It likely our best would look banal from posterity's point of view, if posterity there be.
TEOTWAWKI is coming. 'Tis a stone fact. It may come -- as some of us expect -- in the form of a global event playing out in the historical near term, as catenation of our own, personal experiences, somewhere in between, or all of the above. It's coming, and it will ultimately culminate in the end of our One Precious Life. Coming all too soon.
How do we wish to invest our remaining time?
The question burns for each of us. Despite the seemingly endless flow of our days, they are running to their end. Tempus Fugit! Gather ye rosebuds, my friends. Sieze your day. Prepare, but don't forget to live.
In forming our strategies in attempt to cope with TEOTWAWKI, we often focus on survival. After all, without survival, all the rest seems academic. But that's for then, this is now. If we don't find the reasons to survive -- here and now -- mere survival is pointless.
Penny and Dodge embark on a quest for love.
It isn't found when and where they expect, but it answers. They don't find epic, Romeo-and-Juliet throes of tragic passion. Nor settle for the mere frisson of bodies in poor imitation of a deeper connection.
Just simple, plain, heartfelt love between human beings. Someone each cares enough about to share the last moments, days, years of our lives.
Not a bad answer, at all.