Movie Review: Another Earth

“Man was created by Nature in order to explore it. As he approaches Truth he is fated to Knowledge. All the rest is bullshit.” – Dr. Sartorius (Solaris 1972)

Imagine if you learned tomorrow that not only has another planet been discovered, but it appears to be an exact replica of Earth. This Earth 2 has appeared in our solar system and appears to be moving towards us. Questions arise about what is on this Earth 2, is it inhabited, are there people like us, is there another “you” living there? Curiosity is what keeps us going and knowledge about ourselves as individuals and as a people are what we strive to understand. Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) is a bright, young, girl about to embark on an adventure of excellence as she has just been accepted to M.I.T. On the night of the discovery of another planet in the solar system, she makes a terrible mistake and drunk drives herself straight to prison. When she is free to walk four years later, the Earth 2, as they’re calling it, has grown significantly in size, because it’s moving closer, and it’s all anyone can talk about.

Rhoda struggles every day with the decision she made four years ago that changed more than her own life. She seeks out the man she hit with her car and tries to find the words to apologize, but loses her nerve. She ends up sticking around to get to know him better, in hope of making his life a little brighter. She takes a chance and enters into a writing contest to win a ticket on the shuttle going to Earth 2 in a few months. As time passes, we learn that this planet not only looks like ours, but may in fact be a mirror image of our own planet, thrust into our solar system from where ever they originated. The possibility that the other planet has everything and everyone that we know here on our own planet on Earth 2 is mind-boggling. Everything we are planning, they could be planning as well. If we decided to start an intergalactic war with the other planet, we could be sure that they were planning it on us as well. Rhoda wants to go for the possibility of a second chance at life. Perhaps, she didn’t screw up so bad on Earth 2, she could see what her life could have been like. Another Earth centers on the theme that forgiveness may be the hardest concept to receive from yourself.

This film has a deeper meaning behind all the science-fiction it proposes, it’s about love, forgiveness and fate. Essentially, what it means to be human is explored in this film, more than the possibility of exploring another planet. After learning that John Burroughs (William Mapother) awoke from the coma she put him in, she finds him living in a dilapidated house in the country and concocts a story about being a cleaning lady to gain access to him on a weekly basis. This is where the real story lies, a science-fiction story about a human connection. Although these types of stories are rare, they are always my favorite. Most films about space travel are about exploring uncharted territories but this film makes it about people wanting to know more about themselves. The story is simplistic enough, but carries a coating on it that leaves the viewer chewing on the possibilities for hours afterward.

Do you believe in fate? What if I hadn’t made that wrong turn that night? What if I had said yes to joining that team years ago? What if I had decided to study something else in school? What if… what if… what if??? Humans will always wonder what if, it’s in our nature, which is why I quoted from the film Solaris earlier. It not only fits the theme, but the tone of the film left me feeling the same way after watching Solaris. The two films are both similar in tone and central theme covering what it is to be human or special  as opposed to something else. In Another Earth, you wonder if the other you made the same mistakes you did, and is the other me a better version of myself? The questions the film poses to the viewer are what make this film so fantastic. I left thinking way past the end of the film and wondering what I would say to myself if I could meet me from another planet; I was left speechless, essentially.

Along with the fascinating plot, the actors are all wonderful in their roles and the score left me wanting to search out for the soundtrack now. The film was shot beautifully as well. The shots of Earth 2 lingering above are both stunning and realistic. Now you can’t think too far into the specifics of this film. Things such as it appears that Earth 2 never rotates or has bad weather. You especially can’t let yourself get all wrapped up in the quantum mechanics of the film, that’s not the most important part. What is important is cherishing your life and the relationships you have built along the way, that is what this film aims for.

This is not the first Brit Marling film I have reviewed. She also wrote and starred in Sound of My Voice, which I reviewed in March 2011 at SxSW. I recommend you check out both of these films, they are vastly different but ironically linked.  Marling has a bright future ahead of her with two wonderful films like this already reaching the masses. It’s about time we get some original content in theatres, so be sure and support originality and go see Another Earth.

I give Another Earth 4.5 “Some of us are lucky enough to meet our other you” out of 5

Ok, the last ones are not twins, but Javier Bardem and Jeffrey Dean Morgan look exactly alike!

by Angela Davis

About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.

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