Another Earth (2011)

Another Earth
Director: Mike Cahill
Writer: Brit Marling, Mike Cahill
Cast: Brit Marling, William Mapother

One night a new planet is discovered in the sky that is the exact duplicate of earth. That very night, the young student Rhoda (Brit Marling) drives drunk, causes an accident and kills a young boy and his mother, leaving the father alive. Four years later, Rhoda is released from prison and starts working as a cleaner in the local high school. She seeks out the surviving father, John (William Mapother). Initially just to apologize, but then she loses her nerve and instead offers her cleaning services. While Earth 2 become more tangible and contact is established, their relationship develops, too.

Another Earth is so incredibly indie and artsy, it doesn’t really get any purer than that. Surprisingly, I still thought it was okay. But it’s not my genre and that film certainly didn’t change my mind.

How to tell that a movie is artsy? One, everything is a metaphor. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Two, over long stretches, there’s no talking, just looking. Three, there’s random zooming in basically all the takes because cutting to close-ups is for losers. Another Earth scores a hundred points in all these categories.

One and Two are fine if done right, and it works here. Three is just plain annoying. I’d rather have an extra cut than all that swerving around, especially when the camera is not on a tripod and you got the additional movement from that already.

Apart from the camera, there was the science part that was just a little sad. As you can see in the picture above, Earth 2 is really close to our Earth, though when we see it, it is only a small blue dot. So, apparently it’s getting closer? But nobody mentions the possibility of the two earths crashing together. And what about gravity? I mean, I’m no specialist when it comes to physics, but a planet this close is bound to have some impact, isn’t it?
[Plus, there was this plot hole that drove me insane: [SPOILER] Rhoda enters an essay contest to win a place on the private shuttle that goes to Earth 2. She wins because she was in prison. But at the end Rhoda doesn’t go but gives her ticket to John so he can see if his family is still alive over there. Instead Rhoda from Earth 2 shows up on Earth. But if you take her clothes into account, she never went to prison – so how would she get the ticket for the shuttle? It is unlikely that her scientific achievements of five years at uni would get her there… [SPOILER]]

Anyway, despite that it was pretty watchable. The cast was good, and the story wasn’t bad. That makes up for a lot of things.

Summarising: won’t be my favorite film, but it’s alright.


3 thoughts on “Another Earth (2011)

  1. My favorite aspect of this movie is the theme of second chances. Rhoda tries to atone for her actions on Earth One, but they cannot change, or provide her a second chance, even when she gets the “love” of John.

    The reason that this movie didn’t touch on gravity or the possibility of the two planets colliding is because it wasn’t really about that. If you’re looking for something like that you should check out MELANCHOLIA, which came out the same year. Using this story to focus on second chances and new identities was a nice way to differentiate itself from the other rogue planet sci-fi film.

    • They give the theme of second chances their all, no doubt about it.

      And I get that the film wasn’t about the science, but they used the science when they needed it for the story, and personally I just don’t think that you should just pick and choose – either it’s science and then you have to take it all into account, or it’s magic. Both are valid things, but please decide for one or the other.

      Melancholia also isn’t about science, but it never really pretends to be, either.

      Oh well. That’s probably just the nerd in me speaking. ;)

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