Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Denis Hennelly|
|Produced by||Mary Pat Bentel|
|Music by||Eric D. Johnson|
|Edited by||Greg O'Bryant|
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films|
Goodbye World is a 2013 American post-apocalyptic film directed by Denis Hennelly and written by Hennelly and Sarah Adina Smith. It tells the story of a couple who raise their daughter while living off the grid until a disaster brings about radical changes in the life they have been living and the way they will view their friends. The film had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 15, 2013. It was released in a limited release and through video on demand on April 4, 2014, by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Phase 4 Films.
The film begins with James' recitation of a Henry David Thoreau quote, after which he states that he saw the oncoming societal collapse and moved his free-spirited wife Lily and young daughter Hannah off the grid. A montage shows his college friends just before the collapse: Benji, a radical activist, lectures at a college and has sex with Ariel, one of the students; Nick, James' former business partner, and his wife Becky are en route to James' house for a meeting; Laura, formerly a Senator's aide, is rejected from a job at a non-profit due to a past public scandal; and Lev, a computer hacker, prepares to commit suicide until he hears that a computer virus may be responsible for the collapse. All converge at James' remote Mendocino house, where Benji explains that violent riots have broken out across the nation.
When Laura and James ride into town, he asks if she was forewarned of the attacks. Although she initially denies it, she admits that Homeland Security contacted her about Lev, whom they suspected to be involved with the virus. In town, bikers have taken over the local store and gouge the locals. Laura flashes her breasts for supplies, and they quickly leave when they see a local man bullied mercilessly by thugs. National Guardsmen visit the house and request its use as a base of operations. Becky objects on Constitutional grounds, and James asks them to leave. At the house, Laura decodes a repeated message and explains that the United States is now under martial law. At the same time, old rivalries flare up, and the friends begin infighting over unresolved issues from the past. Becky, who never felt accepted by the others, argues with the others over her Libertarian political beliefs, and James and Nick argue over a business-related lawsuit.
The infighting intensifies, and, after Ariel and Benji break up, Lily kicks out Ariel, who has become disruptive. At the same time, Nick and Lily explore their feelings for each other, and Lily demands a divorce from James, who responds that he has more important things to worry about than his marriage. Ariel goes to live with James' neighbors, who have taken in the Guardsmen. Concerned that James is hoarding medicine, the Guardsmen return and demand James give them his supplies. When he resists, they violently grope Laura and threaten to kill Lev. James backs down, and they leave after he promises to deliver them tomorrow.
Lev reveals that he was partially responsible for the computer virus; in Libya, he constructed a cell phone virus that could overload an entire nation's grid. When he became suspicious of the motivations of his employers, he left before it was completed. As a part of his suicide attempt, he used his virus to say goodbye to the entire country; when Lily hacked into his computer, it released the virus' source code into the wild, and terrorists were able to mount an attack on the country's technological infrastructure. Later, Becky finds Benji in the woods, stuck in a bear trap. Becky, an animal lover, tells Benji how she was forced to hunt and brutally kill rabbits for food in her childhood, and he tells her about Nick and Lily. Lev and Laura talk about his involvement, and she shows indecision over whether to turn him in to the authorities.
Nick and Lily briefly leave together, but they return when Lily convinces Nick that they should be friends and not lovers. James visits his neighbors and refuses to hand over his supplies, though he offers to consider any requests. The Guardsmen cite James' failure to help the bullied local and his refusal to share his supplies as they prepare to execute him. Laura saves him by killing one of the Guardsmen, donates half of their supplies to the other camp, and promises that they will work together from now on. Nick rejoins the camp, James and Lily reconcile, Laura and Lev become a couple, and Becky leaves with Benji to help others in need.
- Adrian Grenier as James Palmer
- Gaby Hoffmann as Laura Shepherd
- Ben McKenzie as Nick Randworth
- Mark Webber as Benji Henry
- Kerry Bishé as Lily Palmer
- Caroline Dhavernas as Becky Snider (married name Becky Randworth)
- Scott Mescudi as Lev Berkowitz
- Mckenna Grace as Hannah Palmer
- Remy Nozik as Ariel
- Linc Hand as Damon Mosley
- Laura Kachergus as Trisha
- Patrick Magel as Kyle Oswald
The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival on June 15, 2013. It went onto screen at the New Hampshire Film Festival on October 19, 2013. Shortly after, Samuel Goldwyn Films and Phase 4 Films jointly acquired all United States rights in October 2013. It was released in the United States on April 4, 2014, in a limited release and through video on demand.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 24% of 25 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 4.4/10. Metacritic rated it 36/100, which indicates generally unfavorable reviews. Mark Adams of Screen Daily called it "engagingly performed, beautifully shot and always absorbing." Katie Walsh of Indiewire called it an "entertaining and realistic" film with varying levels of characterization. Ryland Aldrich of Twitch Film called it "equal parts comedy and heart" and "a true ensemble success". Inkoo Kang of the Los Angeles Times called it "an unconvincing, poorly conceived hybrid of end-of-the-world thriller and relationship drama". Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times, in comparing it to a TV drama, called the characters overwritten and the story oblivious. Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film plays out like a soap opera and should have focused more on suspense. Scott Foundas of Variety called the characters "the whiniest, most self-entitled [protagonists] this side of the worst mumblecore movie you barely remember seeing." G. Allen Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle called the characters annoying and unworthy to survive the apocalypse.
- "Goodbye World". Los Angeles Film Festival. Archived from the original on June 8, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Sneider, Jeff (October 31, 2013). "Adrian Grenier's 'Goodbye World' Acquired by Samuel Goldwyn, Phase 4 Films". The Wrap. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- "Goodbye World (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
- "Goodbye World". Metacritic. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Adams, Mark (June 16, 2013). "Goodbye World". Screen Daily. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Walsh, Katie (April 3, 2014). "Review: Apocalyptic 'Goodbye World' Starring Adrian Grenier, Kerry Bishé, Mark Webber & Gaby Hoffmann". Indiewire. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Aldrich, Ryland (June 24, 2013). "LA Film Fest 2013 Review: GOODBYE WORLD Waves Farewell in Fantastically Entertaining Fashion". Twitch Film. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Kang, Inkoo (April 3, 2014). "Review: 'Goodbye World' looks for love in time of the apocalypse". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Rapold, Nicolas (April 3, 2014). "Futzing and Flirting as Armageddon Unfolds". The New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Farber, Stephen (June 18, 2013). "Goodbye World: LAFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Foundas, Scott (June 21, 2013). "Film Review: 'Goodbye World'". Variety. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Johnson, G. Allen (April 4, 2014). "'Goodbye World' movie review: annoying apocalypse". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 1, 2014.