Another Earth

What could have been a suspense-filled sci-fi is actually a sombre, heart-tugging drama


Director: Mike Cahill
Starring: Brit Marling
Runtime: 92 mins
Rating: ****

There is something undeniably creepy about the idea of there being another Earth in the sky.
Something as familiar to us as our own planet is transformed into a dense, unknown mass looming over proceedings. This film could have been a creepy, suspense-filled sci-fi with spaceships, laser guns and aliens but instead, is a sombre, heart-tugging drama about two deeply distressed individuals and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Rhoda is responsible for the death of a mother and child whilst drunk-driving as a teenager. Upon her release, she seeks the father and husband of the people she killed in order to apologise but when she finds him, she embarks on a relationship with him.

The other Earth is not used for the standard sci-fi fare. While it is present in every scene, this momentous event only subtly influences the plot. It is used as a reminder to Rhoda of the potential correction of mistakes in the past and her final redemption, which is why she is convinced she should go there. She is attracted to the mystery of this other place, where perhaps her past mistakes would not plague her conscience.

Unlike the likes of ‘Armageddon’ or ‘Deep Impact’, which are other well-known event movies, Another Earth is not concerned with the response of the government or elite authorities. Instead of some cringe-inducing speech delivered by Morgan Freeman designed for the flag-fondling patriots, this film is all about us normal folk. How despite the rest of the World changing around us, we still have our regrets and we still hope for a better future. During the recent Recession, I doubt many of us were genuinely concerned about the downfall of the Lehman brothers. We have our own problems to deal with and our ambitions for the future. My ambition was to write third-rate film reviews for Nouse and thank God I achieved that.

The two leads were excellent with Brit Marling deserving of recognition for her tough role as the guilt-ridden Rhodes. Despite having very little dialogue, she manages to give the film an emotional edge that it would have lacked with a less talented actress. William Mapother also plays the distressed widower with aplomb. He gives the sense that he is constantly thinking of the past and his tragedy has left him with paralysis of will to improve his situation. When these two are together, sadness pervades every scene that makes this film the intense experience it is.

Another Earth may have been marketed as an uncomfortable science-fiction film but it is a small and, dare I say it, Earthly drama with some intense acting and decent scripting. It is a great example of a small and unpretentious Independent film that uses an interesting concept and then does something unexpected with it.

3 comments

  1. I’ll definitely check this out! Thanks Mr Bonnington!

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  2. I saw ‘Another Earth’ and I liked it, too. Amazing scene with a guy playing a saw – how many movies have that?! Do you know if that scene is on Youtube or anywhere else on line? I am trying to find it but all I found was an MP3 of the music on the composer’s website
    http://www.scottmunsonmusic.com/news/music-in-film-another-earth-soundtrack

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  3. 17 Jan ’12 at 10:03 pm

    Tom Bonnington

    Hi Michelle. I loved that scene too. Never seen anything like it. I tried looking for it but couldn’t find it I’m afraid. I think that musical saws are what modern cinema is missing the most to be frank!

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