Another Earth (2011)
I will be posting my review for “The East” this upcoming week, so I thought I’d prepare you guys for it by doing a Brit Marling weekend! Today’s review will be “Another Earth” and tomorrow’s will be “Sound of My Voice.” Hope you enjoy, have a great weekend!
A down-to-earth drama told on the grand-scale of science-fiction. “Another Earth” is an epic, gloomy, provocative tale about probability, loss and perseverance…While it may take a little light-reading and a second viewing to fully comprehend and appreciate the material, “Another Earth” is worth the effort. Offering an elegant, unnerving solution to the age-old paradox of questioning the duplicate or parallel of oneself about lifestyle and choices. Director and co-writer Mike Cahill manages to turn a simplistic, promising life into a dooming circumstance with rewarding capabilities. Capturing surreal moments that are sure to provoke chills and striking imagery that fill the story with wonder and ambience. Cahill has emerged on the scene and tore through the fabric of space-time in order to deliver this truly unique picture.
Rhoda Williams (Marling) is a seventeen-year-old high-school student who has received an acceptance letter from MIT. That night, she celebrates with her friends. Simultaneously, another planet that has just emerged is discovered near Earth, the planet is eventually dubbed “Earth 2.” After the party, Rhoda is driving home, while also searching for “Earth 2″ in the sky. Accidentally crashing into another car carrying a man, his wife, and baby son. The crash kills the man’s wife and child and Rhoda is sentenced to four years in prison. When Rhoda is released from prison, she takes residence at her parents house before trying to commit suicide some time after, but fails. Soon after, Rhoda picks up a small job and obsesses over “Earth 2,” until it is all she can think about.
What co-writers Mike Cahill and the resplendent Brit Marling have created with “Another Earth” is a brilliant, almost unbearable contrast. To have such a humbling and sullen story punctured at numerous points by this gleaming hope almost seems cruel. Yet, we all wish at some point in our existence to take something back, a moment, a mistake, an error. At one point or another, we all contemplate a decision and whether it was the correct one. We ponder endlessly about the notion of the opposite and what our lives would be like had we made a different choice. Cahill and Marling have simply taken this regret and expanded it, mirrored it. The blend of these uncertainties and the addition of a parallel earth allows us to explore these hypotheses. By doing so, we now have a cinematic experience that transcends the screen and personally connects to each and every viewer.
This atypical, symmetrical earth has feasible science behind it, not fact, rather, plausibility. To those trying to find its significance, don’t get bogged down in genre labelling. Think of it as a tool, like rhetoric. It’s relevance is in direct correlation with the thesis surrounding “Another Earth.” It doesn’t exist to add a fantastical element to the film. It’s presence is merely an enhancer for the overall ideal of the film. If it were up to me, this picture wouldn’t even be categorized under science-fiction. While it undoubtedly has sci-fi features and visuals, it isn’t meant to overpower the dramatic story at Another Earth’s core. As previously mentioned, we all want to know what it would be like if we made different choices, well, this other earth somewhat allows us to see what it would might be like.
“Another Earth” centres around two main characters played by the aforementioned Brit Marling and William Mapother. Without question, Marling gives the better performance of the two. That being said, Mapother isn’t far behind in his portrayal. Mapother perfectly captures the listlessness and emotional vacancy that comes with a man who has had everything taken from him. As he tries to recuperate and move forward, he is constantly weighed down by this unrecoverable anchor. Mapother, although sparsely used, certainly has the chops to hang with up-and-comer Brit Marling. Speaking of Marling, the argument can be made that Another Earth was her breakthrough performance. Living a life, once filled with unlimited potential, constantly suffering the consequences of her reckless youth. Marling is immaculate in this psychologically complex and emotional diverse role.
Visually stunning, powerfully acted, and firmly directed. “Another Earth” is a staggering piece of cinema and proves to be quite the game-changer. Brit Marling is a force not to be trifled with.
Another Earth: 8 out of 10.