Cast: Brit Marling, William Mapother
Directed by: Mike Cahill
Written by: Mike Cahill and Brit Marling
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction
At a young age, an astronomy enthusiast, Rhoda (Marling), made an irresponsible decision to drink and drive. Upon hearing the discovery of a second Earth within our solar system, she crashes her car into the vehicle of John Burroughs (Mapother), a Yale professor of music. Unfortunately, John’s wife and young son were killed. Four years later, Rhoda is released from prison and seeks out John to make amends, or perhaps endure a punishment at his hands for which she feels is necessary. Instead, she loses the nerve to tell him the truth of who she is and they spark a kinship in one another.
For a film that deals with incredibly heavy issues and philosophies, Another Earth admirably remains rather sweet and good natured. “She thinks she might be able to make his life a little bit better,” Rhoda states at a critical point in the film, a statement that seems to be the filmmaker’s intentions towards the audience. It’s as if to say, “we understand how hard life can be, but even in the grimmest of situations not all hope is lost.”
Director Mike Cahill and star Brit Marling co-wrote the script together; a spellbinding mixture of human drama and science fiction philosophy. The presence of the second Earth, the idea of a second you, the lingering thought of choices and consequences endlessly engulfs the film. Cahill brilliant frames Rhoda often with gorgeous shots of Earth 2 in the sky behind her, as a reminder of the possibility that things might have been different under different circumstances. This all acts as a backdrop to the real story, which is the relationship between Rhoda and John, which is handle with very delicate care by both the writers and actors. [Relatively] Newcomer Brit Marling carries this film on her shoulders with immense emotional depth and subtlety, and she is accompanied by a wonderfully complex performance by William Mapother.
Cahill and Marling’s intuition with this story is spot-on. Neither the science fiction concept or the drama give way to one another, but instead work hand in hand to coax a unique emotional and cerebral experience. If the film is stated to be obvious, it’s only because the script works so well that every incident works towards its natural conclusion. Very few films can blend various elements with such beautiful results.
USA. 92 minutes. Rated PG-13.