Another Earth

August 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Brit Marling, William Mapother, Matthew-Lee Erlbach
Directed by: Mike Cahill (“Boxers and Ballerinas”)
Written by: Mike Cahill (“Boxers and Ballerinas”) and Brit Marling (“Sound of My Voice”)

In the new sci-fi drama “Another Earth,” lead actress, co-writer and co-producer Brit Marling stars as Rhoda Williams, an intelligent young woman whose future is thrown off course when she is involved in a tragic car accident that kills a mother and two children. After spending four years in jail, Rhoda rejoins society in a world that has gone through some mystifying changes during her incarceration.

A new planet has appeared in the sky that, like earth, can sustain life. In fact, the planet seems to be an exact replica of earth, so much so people begin to call it Earth 2. Along with this unique science fiction story, there is an affecting drama at the center of this film. Rhoda is faced with a moral dilemma when she seeks out the father of the family she killed and finds a broken man still grief-stricken from his heartbreaking loss.

In an attempt to help shoulder the pain, Rhoda comes into the life of John (William Mapother), a former Yale music professor, under false pretense. She poses as a maid from a cleaning company who is offering a free trial service. Soon, she is returning to John’s home every week and in her own small way begins to help him put his life back in order.

All the while, this other planet still hovers over earth as a reminder that there is more to life than what we’ve always known. Could Earth 2 be a new start for Rhoda if she were to ever make it to its surface? Who would she come into contact with when she landed? Could a new life be the only way she could find happiness and redemption for the mistakes she made?

First-time feature film director Mike Cahill explores sorrowful and complex themes in the same way other intimate sci-fi movies like “Solaris” and “Moon” do. While some of the ideas are fairly lofty, Cahill and Marling, both credited as screenwriters, have made a existential picture that confronts thought-provoking questions and leaves them open-ended for audiences to decide for themselves.

“Another Earth” isn’t the type of film for those who like their sci-fi loud and dense. It’s a profound, minimal, and understated journey to dark places found in the ever-changing universe and the human psyche.