Movie Review: Another Earth (2011)

Posted: February 16, 2013 in Drama

another earth

Rhoda (Brit Martling) is a bright high school student with an interest in science.  To celebrate being accepted in MIT, she drinks and parties with friends.  In her drunken state behind the wheel, Rhoda runs into a man, his wife and two kids with her car, putting the man in a coma, and killing the wife, and one of the kids.  Rhoda serves four years in juvenile detention, and becomes a janitor at a local high school.  She visits the man, John Burroughs (William Mapother) whose wife and son she killed.  Rhoda initially only intends to tell him what she did and leave, but she starts cleaning John’s house and an unlikely relationship develops.

While Rhoda is in jail, scientists discover another earth that mirrors our own in every way, not only does it have the same atmosphere as Earth, but also the same people, as well.  Everything mirrors Earth.  Rhoda enters a contest to visit Earth 2, and wins.  What does she do?  Does she go to Earth 2?  Does she tell John, who she’s falling in love with, the truth about the car accident?

I did not like this movie.  The science is not believable.  How can there be an Earth that mirrors ours in view of our own?  OK I understand its science fiction, but when the science is ludicrous, the science fiction suffers.  This movie takes an interesting concept, the possibility of a planet that mirrors our own in every way, and executes the concept badly.  It puts off the science fiction and concentrates on the evolving love story between the two leads.  The love story is clunky at best, and so the story suffers.  The science fiction angle is put off and off and off until the very last minute, and by then it means nothing.

The pacing is slow and plodding which is fine, if the movie makers want to make a contemplative, introspective, movie about guilt and redemption. But if the movie makers wanted to make that movie, they could have done so without the science fiction subplot.   If they had done that, and taken out the clunky romance, and made it a platonic friendship between Rhoda and John, this might have been a movie worth watching, but instead it’s a movie that seems scared of its own concept, and that is not a good sign.  The director is clearly trying too hard to make a visual statement, grainy shots, sudden zooms, the shots of the other Earth are gorgeous, but the pretentious film school artifice, I can do without.  This movie tries to be an art-house sci-fi movie, and it doesn’t work.

Brit Martling is a very good actress, and she displays her skills well here.  She was also good in Arbitrage, as the daughter looking for answers.  She also co-wrote and co-produced this movie, I give her credit for making a movie at this young age, but she tries to do too much here, and is clearly not up to the task.  None of the other actors do anything noteworthy.  If you like stories about guilt, and possible redemption, then you might like this, but I was expecting more science fiction and less contemplation.

Another Earth.  The other me reviewing this film didn’t like it either.

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