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“Another Earth” – Review (SO-SO)

August 22, 2011

From what I had read, back when this film was premiering at Sundance this past January, it definitely caught my attention because of the cool concept of the film. Then I finally saw the trailer, I was excited to see this movie, and see how it would play out.

Well, I’ve finally seen it, perhaps I had too much high hopes, because it didn’t completely succeed my expectations. The drama of the story was in the territory of ‘been there done that’; drunk driver kills family in a car accident and tries to mend things right, but ultimately everything ends up in shambles. The cinematography wasn’t terrible, but it was damn messy. Sure I like the shakey cam technique, but when it’s always going in & out of focus and zooming in & out it gets aggressive on the eyes. The concept of the film & the acting did keep my interest, so I’m thankful for that.

“Another Earth” tells the story about a young student named Rhoda (Brit Marling), on the eve of our planets discovery that there is another planet out there similar to ours, she goes on an intoxicated joy ride, and ultimately causes an accident by crashing into a car filled with a family of three. The mother & son die, the father left in a coma. Four years later, Rhoda is relased from prison, and the second planet (Earth II) is visible in the sky above. Rhoda earns a job as a janitor at her old high school. She learns where the man, John (William Mapother), lives, and tries her best to confront him, telling him that she’s the one responsible for the loss of his family. But, she of course looses her nerve and doesn’t say anything. She pretends to be a maid from a maid service and starts to clean his house. A releationship starts to spark. While all this is going, Rhoda and John are caught in the middle of this incredible phenomenon of a second Earth that mirrors our planet and inhabitats. There is a worldwide contest to send pedestrians to the new world, could this contest be the second chance Rhoda deserves?

As I should’ve guessed, Rhoda gets far in deep with John without telling him that she’s the one responsible for the loss of his family. You know exactly what’s going to happen, from her relationship with him, to telling him the truth, to what follows after. The story is predictable in that sense, the only thing that isn’t predictable is the last minute of the movie, I didn’t see it coming and that was the only refreshing thing from this plot. As for the concept of another Earth right above ours, that I really dug. It leaves you with thousands of questions and what if scenarios. Throughout the film you can hear the media debates/discussions regarding what’s up there. Frankly, I found those parts of the film to be more interesting.

The acting in the film, was strong, for what the actors had to work with in story, they really gave it their all. I can probably see this movie getting some nominations for the acting. William Mapother I think gives the better performance here. I’ve seen him in previous films, he’s one of those actors you’ve seen, but you don’t really remember his name or what you’ve seen him in, but you know he’s been around on the scene. This movie might get him more dramtic lead roles, I hope so, because he was seriously good in this movie. Brit Marling was good too, she brought some good emotional depth to a lost soul hoping for redemption. The other thing I liked about this films, where the mesmorizing shots of Earth II up in the sky, it’s so eerie and beautiful seeing another planet right above us, and everyone walks around acting normal.

I’m not going to recommend this as a theatrical viewing, it might not be worth the 8 dollar ticket for some, however, this would make a good rental to put your curiosity at ease. I won’t say skip it all together, because it really does deserve a viewing in some capacity, because of the creative concept. I just think the story behind it was probably the wrong story to tell, or the story being told was too cliched, what a shame.

GRADE: C

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