Review of Another Earth (2011)

2 Feb

Another Earth (2011) is a low-budget drama/sci-fi/fantasy film, setting an idea of an alternate Earth-like planet appearing in close proximity to our planet as a backdrop for a mainly drama film.

Directed by Mike Cahill (Boxers and Ballerinas (2004)), this is his first feature film.

Written by Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice (2011), The East (2012)), who’s also the lead actress of the film and the director Mike Cahill.

Starring: Brit Marling, William Mapother, Robin Taylor, Diane Ciesla and others.

As soon as I heard the intriguing premise I was hooked on seeing the film and even though I expected it concentrating and exploring it a bit more, I wasn’t disappointed, because it delivered in other departments.

It really doesn’t go into the sci-fi too much, they play it loose with the physics of having another planet so close to ours. It just sets up this world, which offers choices for the main characters.

The film opens with a car accident, which totally changes the lives of the two main characters. And it makes you realize how easily lives of good people can be ruined, by one of them making a bad decision.

Then it switches to four years later and shows the main character Rhonda’s life totally destroyed by the accident, her being emotionally tortured and having no career options.

All this time the Earth 2 is just there, it looks like an exact replica of our Earth and they arrange a contest, where people can send in letters stating why they should be chosen to go on a trip to the other planet. Of course Rhonda decides to write a letter. And then there is a scene where Rhonda and her family are watching a telecast of an attempted contact with the other planet and it is successful. It gave me goosebumps and left them on me for the rest of the scene, because the possibility of something like this happening in real life is kind of scary.

You really start to care for the relationship between the main characters, but weirdly it is the most heartbreaking in its happiest moments, because you know it can’t last forever and you keep dreading the moment when it ends and wishing for it to not happen. And you really have to thank the two lead actors of the film, they completely sell it. William Mapother is usually good, but Brit Marling is an amazing young actress, also really beautiful.

I loved the shots, where you can see all the dust particles floating around in a room, where there’s a beam of sunlight shining in, really gives this feeling of stillness. Also the score is really good and there’s this amazing melody played on a hand saw in one scene, it sounds almost otherworldly.

My one regret might be that the sci-fi (loose in the “sci” part) concept could be used for a variety of different films in totally different ways, taking it more seriously and this one didn’t explore it that much, but it would seem cheap if suddenly others would take the concept and start exploiting it. But this is in no way a complaint against this film.

The movie is kind of slow, but not dragging, I was totally captivated and thought the pace was perfect. And the ending was pretty brilliant.

Overall, great movie, one of my 2011 favorites, thought-provoking and heartfelt, yet not unnecessary overcomplicated for a small drama film, recommended for everyone.

Pictured: Brit Marling after watching 8 Mile.

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