The Twenty-First Century

Another Earth [2011]

Here’s a thought: there’s another earth out there. A duplicate earth. Which means there’s another you out there. Now picture this: if you had a chance to meet your other self, what would you say to it? What would you learn from it? Or better yet: has the other “you” made the same mistakes you did? Or is it simply better than you? “Another Earth”, from indie director Mike Cahill describes such a world, a world where scientists have discovered a replica of Earth orbiting the sun. This is a life changing event for Rhoda (Brit Marling), whose drunken joy ride results in the death of a mother and her child. The father, played by William Mapother (Ethan from “Lost”) survives. Rhoda is imprisoned for four years. On her release, she knocks on the door of the grieving father, John, hoping she could finally own up as the driver who killed his family. Instead, she pretends to be a house cleaner, and offers to clean his dirty apartment. With time, John grows fond of her, seemingly unaware of the secret she is holding. Technically, “Another Earth” is a science fiction film, but it’s not the flavor of sci-fi to which today’s audiences have become accustomed. The elements are there for sure, but this is no “Cowboys and Aliens” or “Transformers”. In fact, the sci-fi elements feel so “real”, that at some point, it’s easy to forget that you’re watching a sci-fi film at all. At its heart though, “Another Earth” is just a story about redemption. If anyone ever was in need of a second chance, it’s Rhoda. “Earth 2”, as they call it, could be her ticket out of her misery.

I’m well aware that this kind of drama has been done before (grieving parent, guilty driver etc…), but “Another Earth” is different though. It is by no means a great movie; in fact, it has its flaws (where did earth 2 come from in the first place?), but it manages to be moving and memorable, without flogging its audience with agonizing special effects and silly dialogue. The final scene is open for interpretations, which could only mean one thing: when a movie gives you something to talk about, long after the credits stop rolling, you know it has done its job right. “Another Earth” does exactly that. It’s a beautiful, out of this earth experience that will surely haunt your dreams.

Rating: 3/4

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