Another Earth (2011) – Review

3 1/2 Stars


While driving home from a party, intoxicated teenager Rhoda Williams hears a radio broadcast stating the finding of a planet in our solar system that is exactly like our own, Another Earth. As her head turns to the sky she fails to see the car stopped at the intersection and she slams head-on into it killing John Burroughs’ family, and leaving him in a coma. Four years later she is released from prison as Earth 2, as the media is now calling it, is edging itself closer and closer. Trying to make peace with her past she approaches John, but in a moment of weakness lies. Under the false pretenses of being a maid, Rhoda weaves her way into his life and the two help each other deal with the devastating past as the rest of the world looks to the future. Rhoda sets out on a path of redemption against the science fiction backdrop of the discovery of a planet that mirror ours, providing everyone a chance for a second start.

For anyone looking for a real science fiction flick, this isn’t it. It’s firstly and foremost a character drama set against the backdrop of the discovery of another celestial planet that mirrors Earth to a T. This movie would be equally as excellent without the sic-fi elements, but they are such a great addition to this story I wouldn’t want to see it without them. While Earth 2 is discovered, it is unexplored during this film’s running-time, except for audio contact with the mirrored humans inhabiting it. Another Earth has a very reigned in Richard Kelly feel to its subdued sci-fi flare.

Actress and indie darling Brit Marling is a double threat here, not only creating one of the most spellbinding performances I’ve seen in awhile, but also co-scripting one of the most interesting stories to come out of the indie scene. She and director Mike Cahill brilliantly incorporate the Earth 2 discovery into a much smaller story making it an integral, but not overpowering, part of the picture. The idea of such a small story happening during such a large event has intrigued me for quite sometime, and I’m glad that this is the film that brought it to fruition.

It’s rare to see an actor or actress on screen that is so mesmerizing and in the moment that it doesn’t seem like there’s a camera in the room. Marling is uninhibited in her role as Rhoda, letting us into her world without any feeling of intrusion. Mike Cahill directs scenes filled with a cold starkness in the beginning that slowly ease into warmer and uplifting moments. It’s clear that there are little to no accidents in this film, everything has a meticulously thought out feel, yet comes across as new and fresh. William Mapother’s John goes through a similar arc as Marling’s Rhoda, which helps make later developments in their relationship more realistic. The two play well off each other on-screen, there were many moments with a little tension as I wondered if John had seen through Rhoda’s ruse. Mapother played the character on the edge of his seat, wanting to put out of his mind his terrible loss, but it always seemed to be written all over his face.

Incredibly acted, amazingly written and wonderfully directed Another Earth is a film I’ll be recommending for years to come.

Director: Mike Cahill
Stars: Brit Marling, William Mapother

3 thoughts on “Another Earth (2011) – Review

    1. It was a real surprise for me, but I do like character dramas and sci-fi so it went a different way than I thought. I hope more people will be willing to give this a shot, but I bet it won’t live up to their expectations being such a smaller film than its description.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *