One must balance the universal with the intimate; the characters should behave in a way that makes the audience go, “Would I act that way, were I to die in a few hours? Maybe.”
The best example I’ve seen of the genre is Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
Sad, yet not entirely distressing, and funny yet not completely farcical, it possesses the right amount of nostalgia for everything this world amounts to.
The last night spent with a friend is truly painful, but there’s laughter to be found amongst the tears.
Saying goodbye is as haunting as it is beautiful, and the final scene between Penny (Keira Knightley) and Dodge (Steve Carrell) encapsulates the moment perfectly:
“It’s not enough time”, she says.
“It never would have been”, he replies.
If you’ve ever had the privilege of having a friend and then saying goodbye to them, you know it’s not only the perfect answer, but the only one.