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McCoy on Movies: Another Earth Movie Review

McCoy on Movies: Another Earth Movie Review
Could a cinematic gem that explores life, loss and the desire for redemption and connection really exist on
Another Earth? Click here to find out!

 

 

"Wouldn't you like to take a trip to the air up there?" Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) stares off into space at ANOTHER EARTH. Credit: Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures TM and (c) 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Brit Marling, William Mapother, Jordan Baker, Flint Beverage, Robin Lord Taylor, Kumar Pallana and Richard Berendzen
WRITER(S):
Brit Marling and Mike Cahill
DIRECTOR: Mike Cahill
WEB SITE: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/anotherearth/
THE PLOT:
Sharing co-writer duties with director Mike Cahill, Brit Marling stars in Another Earth as Rhoda Williams. A smart, happy young woman with dreams of becoming an astrophysicist, Rhoda finds her life changed forever on a fateful night when, after leaving a party, she gets distracted and tragedy results.

 

The tragedy leaves Rhoda a shell of her former self, the only thing unchanged about her is her interest in the sky - an interest heightened by the seemingly overnight discovery of a mysterious planet dubbed "Earth 2." Scientists rapidly begin making discoveries about the new planet, which mirrors this one, that spark interest about it around the globe. And one wealthy individual has created a contest with a prize of a trip to the new planet for one lucky winner.

 

Although Rhoda dreams of visiting the planet, she has a more immediate - and heart-wrenching - task at hand. Driven by the need to deal with the sadness she has caused another human being, Rhoda finds her way to the home of the man whose life she destroyed - composer John Burroughs (William Mapother). John has no clue who the young woman at his front door offering a free trial of her company's cleaning services is, but as miserable as he has been since the event, he slowly becomes warm to the idea of having a new companion in his own life.

 

But as the relationship grows and matures, Rhoda is faced with several tough decisions to make, especially as she contemplates what life might be like on Another Earth.

 

THE TAKE: It's been several weeks since I first saw Another Earth, and I'm still thinking about it today. That is one of the best compliments I can think to give the superbly acted, well-written - and original - film, which I stopped short of grading as perfect due to an ending some may love and others might wish was slightly different.

 

When you create a drama where people have to wrap their minds around something that does not exist in the real world that you intend people to take seriously, you have to be very careful in your approach so that it does not become corny or trippy. Another Earth masterfully avoids both of these pitfalls by identifying the roots of its story - punishment, connection, isolation, the need for companionship and the desire to atone for one's past sins - and exploring them within the confines of its story.

 

Whether we admit it or not, the unknown - or the fear of it, rather - is one of the biggest and most universal things we share as human beings. On the flipside of that, of course, is the hope and inspiration of what could be and not knowing what the future holds. Likewise, as we grow older, our hindsight increases as we think of all the things we wish we could say to ourselves: "Knowing what I know now, I should have..."

 

Marling and Mapother do such an excellent job of expressing their respective characters' joy, grief, loneliness, sadness and happiness that viewers not only feel empathy for them, they conjure up an emotional response in audiences as well. Combined with the understated yet stellar visuals crafted by Cahill, making his feature film debut behind the camera, and it's easy to see why the film took home both the coveted Alfred P. Sloan Prize for best film focusing on themes of science and technology and Special Jury Prize for Dramatic Feature at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

 

Nothing about Marling and Mapother's relationship seems unrealistic, even when it hits an extreme in a movie that features the discovery of another earth-like planet in it. These are two broken people seeking redemption and relief from their pain with another earth offering that opportunity to make their lives - both as individuals and with one another - better. That is an achievement in which Marling, Mapother and Cahill should all take pride.

 

PARTING SHOT: A film that explores the concept of forgiveness and second chances in an original, entertaining (and dare I say it: heartfelt) fashion, Another Earth is a great film, from start to finish that you and your fellow man will enjoy.

 

RATING (OUT OF FOUR BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

Tabari McCoy -

Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. You can check out more of his work on his blog at McCoyonMovies.BlogSpot.com and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy

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