Sunday, July 24, 2011

Another You: A Review of Another Earth

If you could meet another you, what would you say? First-time director Mike Cahill plays around with this concept in the ambitious sci-fi drama “Another Earth”.

The film opens with an ecstatic Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) at a party with friends. She just got accepted into MIT and she can only go up. The same night a planet mirroring earth suddenly appears in the sky. While driving home from the party, Rhoda takes her eyes off the road to look up at the sky.

At exactly the same moment, Yale professor and composer John Burroughs (William Mapother) is sitting with his family at a traffic stop when Rhoda plows into them. Fast forward four years into the future. Although Rhoda has served time, she won’t allow herself forgiveness and struggles to maintain a normal life. Despite her brilliant mind, she opts to work as a janitor at a local high school. She also musters up the nerve to enter a contest for a trip to the planet now known as Earth 2. Guilt-ridden she seeks out John at his residence intending to apologize by posing as a worker for a housekeeping company, but instead becomes entangled in a love affair.
Although the concept is fresh in its approach of exploring the familiar territory of the human psyche, there were moments throughout where the camera work distracted from the fluidity of the piece. However the moving performances of newcomer Marling and Mapother more than make up for the film’s flimsy production.

The verdict: B-