Release Date
January 24, 2011
Director
Mike Cahill
Screenplay
Mike Cahill
Brit Marling
Distributed By
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Budget
$100,000
Drama, Romance, Science Fiction
Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, some sexuality, nudity and drug use
92 minutes

Another Earth
09fourhalf-stars

Another Earth is less a film about discovering another planet inhabited with life and more-so about the connections between certain individuals and finding a way to live with the consequences of poor decisions.

The films opens in New Haven with the young and bright Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) being accepted into MIT. After making the unfortunate decision to drink and drive, Rhoda’s inattentive gaze towards the night sky causes a fatal accident in which a mother and son are killed, and the father sent into a coma.

Rhoda does her time and upon her release, takes a high school janitorial job to “busy” her hands, all the while, the buzz of a second Earth fills the media outlets, as well as the sky. When Rhoda finds that the comatose father, John Burroughs (William Mapother) has come-to, she sets out to apologize. Though she cannot bear to come clean, she instead becomes John’s house-cleaner, giving back in the only way she can. Their relationship grows and eventually blossoms just as Rhoda finds out she has won an essay contest to be one of the first people to visit the second Earth.

There are key scenes in this film that pull strategically at the heart without effort and cause beautiful moments that evoke emotions. A scene early on that hit home involves Rhoda’s first sign of emotional healing. Who knew the simple act of buying a box of gummy bears could cause an emotion response? However, seeing Rhoda so happy over such a minimal purchase made my day. So when she runs into an old classmate that seems to be making something of himself and decides against buying the now “insignificant” box of tasty bears, I was heartbroken for her. Empathy becomes a filmmaker’s gift. If I can feel an emotion strong enough to react in the same way as the character, the filmmaker has done something extraordinary.

The scene that brought me to tears, however, was Rhoda visiting Purdeep (Kumar Pallana), her fellow janitor who takes his own sight and hearing. As she lays with him, signing with her finger on the palm of his hand, that deep connection that she makes with someone who could easily be overlooked in everyday life, shows the extent of her compassion, and the boundless extent of the human heart.

Another Earth is a labor of love, in Mike Cahill’s second collaboration with actress, producer, and writer Brit Marling. The film is rich with emotion, ripe with stunning visuals, and chalk full of commendable cinematic choices that sets this Indie film apart from its peers as recognized at Sundance this past year.

 

6 Comments on “Proof Review: Another Earth (2011)

  1. What a great scene indeed. They could have easily had the character play the piano, but having him play the saw made it a much more extraordinary and unique occurrence. Thanks for the link. I hope you don’t mind if I re-post it.

  2. I can’t say I agree with you here, the good outweigh the bad in Another Earth, but I felt there were too many scenes that just weren’t needed, like the writer was doing his best to push the film just over the 1 hour 30 mark. However, Cahill’s direction was good and I liked the whole idea of the film.

    But, if you like it that’s great 😀 Good review!

    • No worries. I tend to enjoy when people disagree with me on tastes. It allows for an outside perspective. And I somewhat get where you’re coming from. The scenes of Rhoda cleaning John’s house each week become rather repetitive, though I enjoyed the extra time to contemplate their relationship and her mindset. I especially liked the struggle she has the first time, where she almost leaves like three times. But what scenes exactly did you feel were unneeded if I may ask?

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