Another Earth (2011) Poster

(2011)

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8/10
Rather beautiful and sad
ix-viii-ix10 December 2011
I went to the cinema on the spur of the moment, I had a couple of hours to kill. I scanned the billboard for anything that might seem vaguely interesting - "Another Earth" sounded science fiction-y so I bought my ticket and went in.

It's important I explain this for two reasons: first because I saw this movie "tabula rasa", having not seen trailers, read reviews or having any idea what it was about. Secondly it became evident from the bad- tempered muttering in the back I wasn't the only one to have done this.

At first I struggled with the concept, but I kept an open mind and a very different movie to the one I thought I would see developed, and was actually quite well done. After about 20 minutes I was ready to get up and leave, but giving it time paid back dividends, by the last half-hour I had become too involved to consider leaving.

The story is a slow burner that grips you incrementally, and while the occasionally grainy or out of focus shots give you the strong impression this was made on a shoestring, that is no reason to hold anything against it. Having seen the high budget yawn-fest "Transformers" I can actually say that given the current state of big budget science fiction this is a refreshing, if a bit left-field approach to the genre.

Evidently my companion viewers in the cinema, a small group of guys, were not getting as much out of the deeply troubled love story that forms the basis of the plot, and they made their discontent very audible to my irritation.

In brief, not a film for everyone, but if you're in the mood for an introspective slow-burner and you've got the patience for it, this film will prove a rewarding experience
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7/10
This Me or That Me?
ferguson-626 July 2011
Greetings again from the darkness. An award winning film at Sundance, this one seems to carry the same polarizing effect that "Tree of Life" does. The reviews and comments have been discordant and contentious. After sitting through a Q&A with Mike Cahill (co-writer, director) and Brit Marling (co-writer, star) I am guessing they are taking great pride in the love/hate responses. Their film was designed to take you deep ... make you think and self-analyze. This is not a fluffy Owen Wilson rom-com. Explaining what it is, well, that's a challenge.

The story begins with Rhoda (Brit Marling) out for a night of partying. We learn she has been accepted to M.I.T. and that she is quite the space and astronomy lover. Her very poor decision to drive home after drinking results in a horrific accident that changes her life and that of a young family. At the same time, scientists discover "another Earth" has been hiding on the other side of the sun. Flash forward four years as Rhoda is released from prison.

She is a broken spirit whose bright future has been dashed. She tracks down the man who survived the crash she caused and has every intention of apologizing. Instead, she cleans his house. She finds John (William Mapother) has dropped out of society and found numbness in the bottle.

I won't say more about the story because it is really something to watch unfold. What I will say is that I found the advertisements to be somewhat misleading. This is not a sci-fi film per se. Sure the second earth brings about numerous questions concerning the "other" us. What would we say? How would we react? Have I done better there than here? But that is actually an underlying element to this story ... always present in our thoughts and those of Rhoda. Instead, this film is a psychological drama. And a dark one at that.

You will recognize William Mapother (The Grudge, Lost), who plays John. He has a regular guy look to him and stretches well from happiness to depression to, once again, showing a spark. Brit Marling is one you don't know, but will soon enough. She is an amazing presence on screen and avoids the Hollywood acting crutches. She plays Rhoda as the damaged, confused creature she is in the story. Very well done.

A couple of other interesting notes include Kumar Pallana (The Royal Tenenbaums)as Purdeep. With minimal screen time, his character provides Rhoda with a lesson she needs. There is also a scene where John plays a saw as a musical instrument. The sound is amazing and the music is actually from Natalia Paruz, who is knows as the "saw lady". Other music in the film is outstanding and courtesy of Fall on Your Sword. Very unique, but a perfect fit for the film.
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9/10
Suspend disbelief, and love this movie
jesus-100-9845217 July 2011
I am a psychiatrist and psychotherapist who can tell a hawk from a handsaw, and there is a wonderful handsaw in this movie. So, I feel qualified to tell you it is safe to see this movie as it is, without worrying about details like gravity. Do not allow unimaginative naysayers to keep you from enjoying this gem. I mean, we all can enjoy vampire and zombie movies, right? Is any movie any better than "Let the Right One In"? I saw this movie last night in Brookline Mass at a Q&A preview, with director, writers, and an actor -- all combined in two lovely people. No one in our sophisticated audience that included a CETI scientist cared enough about the "laws of physics" problems to mention them in the question period. All we cared about were the endearing characters, the music both acoustic and visual, the plot developments, the shocking climaxes, the compelling emotional plausibility.

The movie is not about anything as terrestrial as gravity. In the world of this movie, something has happened to upset some kind of cosmic symmetry, and the other earth has appeared from a parallel universe. I do wish some character or other had dispelled the physics with "I don't know why our orbits are not affected". But, the metaphor works as a way to discuss looking at oneself. It really does not matter. The acting is perfect, the camera-work perfectly beautiful, the plot deeply affecting with wonderful surprises.
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9/10
The big thing a lot of viewers didn't figure out...
TheInvisibleCar17 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler Alert!!!

This comment is for those who have already seen the movie, as my comments mainly pertain to the last scene.

It would seem that most viewers didn't get something I just automatically figured out during the course of the movie...and this thing has to do with the broken synchronicity. Earth 1 and Earth 2 didn't just automatically start to become different, something had to break synchronicity, and those differences would only occur with the two planets interaction and then have to domino or butterfly effect from there. When she was driving in her car, looking up to see the blue dot in the sky, her double was doing the same thing. But, the other planet was not a mirror image, it was a duplicate, so unlike in a mirror, where when you raise your right hand you see your reflection raising its left hand, what she saw was more like looking into a rorrim, which is a type of mirror where things are not reversed, so you actually see things as others would be looking at you and seeing things...the print of a book you are holding up to a rorrim isn't reversed and you can still easily read it, and so on. When the blue dot was first noticed and the disc jockey was announcing it she looked up into the sky and her body double was also looking up, but exactly where that blue dot was in the sky was different for the two of them. So, given her body double's different positioning of her head, her different angle of viewing, she noticed the other car in time to brake or swerve and miss it. Similarly, when Dr. Joan Tallis was on live TV making live radio contact, at first she thought she was getting feedback, because in reply to anything she said, she was hearing the other Joan Tallis who was broadcasting the exact same radio message to her. This was a frustration for her, until something different about the radio waves traveling through space meant that one of them would hear something differently, and respond differently, so that instead of just saying the same thing to each other at the same time, back and forth, one of them somehow responded differently, "Hello? Hello?" as they undoubtedly had heard something different, or failed to hear something because it was blocked by interference. Then their synchronicity was broken enough in that small way for the two of them to actually have a conversation, and undoubtedly, television viewers on Earth 2 might have experienced a small break in synchronicity, as their Joan Tallis was answering the question about what she bought at the space store in Cape Canaveral, so the viewers on Earth 2 didn't have their Joan Tallis holding up the words "space strawberries," on her yellow pad to possibly provoke the obvious reaction that Rhonda's brother on Earth 1 was having. (And obviously, Rhonda 2's brother didn't have a sister who went to prison, so very likely in that family's life, along with Rhonda 2's friends at MIT, quite a bit of synchronicity had been broken by then.) So, the Rhonda 2 didn't crash, did go to MIT, did study astronomy or astrophysics, which was her area of interest, and won the contest for other reasons, probably just for being a motivated MIT graduate student specializing in space and astronomy. She had nobody to consider giving up her space flight to, since she didn't kill anybody's family. John Burroughs undoubtedly joined his family, now having two fathers, only one being slightly banged up and with minor head injury issues. This was already a question in my mind and in other viewers' minds, whether by looking up at the sky at different angles the two Rhondas had broken synchronicity enough to where one of them had swerved and missed hitting the other car. The final scene didn't raise any questions at all, rather, it quickly and refreshingly answered the really biggest question that viewers who got it were already asking themselves and wondering about. For me, that final scene was a magical and beautiful moment, but not wonderful at all, as it replied to all the wonder by answering every question and tying-up all the loose ends of the story very well, at least as far as the story line was dealing with. (Of course to follow the story one had to at least suspend belief enough to not stray from the story, wondering about things like whether the two planets would be experiencing tsunami tides because of their gravitational pulls and such, etc.)

There was no moral difference between the two Rhondas, it's not that one of them decided to go the party and drink while the other didn't, they were the same person, they were the same drunk, just one was a drunk trying to look at a blue dot in the sky over here, while the other was a drunk trying to look at a blue dot in the sky over there. Face to face, they should realize that were the same person until then, only one, like most drunk drivers, just didn't end up in an accident by mere chance, just dumb luck and nothing else.

I just thought it was a wonderful movie and the final scene answered that wonderful with a terrific happy ending. The two Rhonda's certainly have a lot of catching up to do, and undoubtedly, John and Rhonda are the only people who ended up on the same planet as their other selves, and the other shuttle passengers certainly arrived to notice little or no difference with the planet they left, probably feeling more like returning astronauts than true space explorers. The Rhonda 1 and John 1 switch proved to be an additional but major break in synchronicity for the two Earths.
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A Very Beautiful Slow Movie
delightful-life30 November 2011
This is not a commercial movie, but something like a documentary shot with a commercial movie like quality.

The storyline in the IMDb main page describes the premise of this movie, but thats not what this movie is about.

The other planet thing is just like the background music, its there for effect. Other Earth is all about beauty, the attention to detail and the simple yet delicate story.

Its a lot like those many many beautiful Japanese movies (Tokyo Story comes to my mind, though I have to say its not as good as that). Its a beautiful journey, and when its done you lie back and think about its beauty.

This movie is highly recommended if you enjoy simple movies like those.

This is not a sci-fi and even the logic behind the other planet is too far fetched and they don't even hide it, they never go into any scientific details. There is also no action, nor is it a thriller.

Cheers. :-)............
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9/10
Deep Introspection Joins with Otherwordly Exploration
chaz-2814 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Another Earth contains both an outward looking expansionist grand vision and an inward focused deep introspection. First, the external and gargantuan stimulus is that another planet appears in the sky. At first, it's just a speck like any other planet or distant star. Then it keeps coming closer is soon apparently our same planet dubbed Earth II. The internal and emotionally scarred center of the film, however, is Rhoda (Brit Marling) who is just released from prison four years later after being convicted of vehicular manslaughter. As a 17 year old girl who just got accepted to MIT, she drove drunk, hit a car with a family in it, and killed the pregnant wife and five year old boy. The husband, William Mapother, went into a short coma.

To avoid human contact and most forms of communication, Rhoda opts for janitorial work upon release. Her family wants her to resume her life where she left off but her psyche will not allow that. So begins a deeply philosophical exploration on regret, guilt, forms of forgiveness, and compassion all while a new, mirror-imaged planet is coming closer and closer. Did Rhoda commit the same mistake on Earth II? Is that family torn apart or still together on that new planet? These and a host of other theories and possibilities are tossed around for the audience concerning not only a mirror planet, but about past events and moving forward.

In real life, Brit Marling graduated from Georgetown with and economics degree and instead of pursuing a banking career with Goldman Sachs (an offer she turned down) took off for Hollywood. She was only offered smaller roles in cheap horror flicks. So instead of demeaning herself in garbage like that, she sat down with the eventual director, Mike Cahill, and wrote her own script. Brilliant move. It was a much harder road to travel to write her own script and then get it picked up by Fox Searchlight who bought the distribution rights at Sundance, but she pulled it off. It really is a breath of fresh air to see a film like this, learn its back story, and become immersed in it as opposed to whatever the most recent superhero movie is.
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9/10
A quietly powerful work of art
howard.schumann14 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
""O wad some Power the gift tae gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!" – Robert Burns

Beginning as a blue speck in the far distant horizon, in four years a new planet resembling Earth has moved into our solar system, creating a hovering phantom-like globe in the sky that puzzles scientists and laymen alike, but brings a feeling of wonder to the night sky. Winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film and the Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Mike Cahill's low-budget film, Another Earth, is a quietly beautiful meditation on guilt, redemption, and second chances. Though it has some implausible elements, it is so skillfully written and performed that these elements seem irrelevant. Cahill demonstrates that science fiction movies do not have to have blaring music, unending frenzy, CGI effects, or ugly and violent monsters to successfully capture our imagination.

The premise of the film is that the new planet is an exact mirror of the Earth, containing a duplicate version of ourselves who mirror our earthly circumstances. Cahill's main focus, however, is not the new planet but the attachment between two damaged individuals who begin to bring each other back to life after a devastating incident that forever scarred their lives. As the film opens, Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling), a bright 17-year old, unsteady after a night of celebrating her acceptance into MIT, drives her car through a red light, putting composer John Burroughs (William Mapother) in a coma and killing his pregnant wife and their young son.

The film then jumps ahead four years when the still guilt-ridden and morose Rhoda is released from prison and tries to set her life in order, moving back with her parents Kim (Jordan Baker) and Robert (Flint Beverage), and her brother Jeff (Robin Taylor). Though she had planned on studying Astrophysics, the only job she can now get is working as a high school janitor, a job where she keeps to herself without much interaction with others. When she sees John placing a toy robot at the site of the accident, on a whim she goes to his house pretending to be a maid offering a free trial for a cleaning service oddly called "Maid in Heaven."

In the back of her mind, however, is finding a way to release her inner torment. Fascinated with this sullen but obviously highly intelligent woman, John takes her up on her offer and asks her to come back each week to clean his house. At first uncommunicative both verbally and emotionally, the two alienated people slowly begin opening up to each other a little bit more each week. Though Rhoda eventually plans to tell John that she was responsible for the accident that killed his family, their visits seem to bring them to a new awakening of what is possible in their life, and she repeatedly postpones her confession.

After listening to TV broadcasts talking constantly about the possibility that your identical twin on Earth 2 might be a happier and more satisfied version of you, Rhoda enters a contest to become the first voyager to visit the other Earth. Astonishingly, she wins first prize after a heart rendering essay describing the reasons she wants to go. At first, pleading with her not to go through with it, John's attitude is changed drastically after she reveals her complicity in the fatal accident, a scene that leads to a startling and unpredictable conclusion.

Supported by the ethereal sounds of the group "Fall on Your Sword," Another Earth engenders powerful performances that deserve recognition at awards time. Marling, who also co-wrote the film, gives an intense and moving performance that brings her character fully to life. Though the film misses an important teachable moment near the end, it is a quietly powerful work of art that suggests that truth lays more in inner than in outer space, and that the biggest world to conquer is the one that is right before our eyes. As author Marcel Proust put it, "The real voyage of discovery lies in not seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes."
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8/10
Can a movie suck massively, and yet be frighteningly Awesome? Why is this my first review?
deepakaj23 January 2012
Hammer your expectations down through the rocks. Here, let me help you. There's 1000's of fellow IMDb'ers who thought the movie sucked horribly. A lot of suckage. It's not that great. It's not sci-fi. If you're thinking of another movie to compare this to, no matter what you pick, this one'll fall terribly short.

To the facts, Brit co-wrote the movie, she's gorgeous. I probably would've given up half-way if it wasn't for the mysteriousness she portrays. That face, gawd! Made on a shoestring budget. Heck, Brit had to do her co-star's make-up in between shots. This is a movie made with passion, and a lot of faith that they'd done good stuff.

Well, let me sorta paint my experience watching 'Another Earth'. Glued to my seat, for an hour and a half, almost as if this was a thriller? I'm serious. Captivated by the gorgeous shots of 'earth 2'. Waiting for the little streams of info being released ever so stringently -- the announcement on the radio as they discover earth 2, and a whole bunch more. I've already mentioned how captivating Brit is.

What? No Sci-fi? There's definitely food for the sci-fi enthusiast. The premise comes from a mixture of new-age string theory of the multiverse kind. The ending'll have you wondering about Einsteinian space-time implications.

The core of the movie is largely philosophical. Forgiveness. Rebirth. etc. Kept me struggling throughout with my emotions about the main character. Past the acting. How much forgiveness can the viewer unleash? And is it justified?

Chill out, leave your expectations at the door. You may not like it. It's slow. It demands your attention, so keep away from the caffeine. You might not feel the same way about Brit though. She's gorgeous. She really is. It's just a well-made passion-filled indie-flick. It's got some gorgeous imagery. The atmosphere, constantly thick, with color and emotion. This review's gone on way too long. Indie flick of the year? Gets my vote. Who cares?

Oh BTW, its possible your friends'll hate you for recommending this. Especially if they're the kind that finds it hard to appreciate photography, artsy stuff maybe, and don't have much patience, you know, generally. So there ya go, one final reason for you to dig this flick. The fact that you like it -- yeah it'll be one of those things you look back on and say 'Hey, I really am different. I appreciate interesting deep stuff. I'm like an artist, philosopher, or something. neat!'. Holy hell. What? Is that really why I...
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10/10
Truly Amazing
ash-38930 October 2011
This is one of the best films I have seen this year. I love science fiction and all that, but this film is not about that, if you are concerned about facts and fingers about space and whether x equals y and is it possible etc then don't watch this film. If you are wanting to watch a master piece of filming and directing with a truly hart felt story then this is for you, from the very beginning I was hooked until the final seconds of the film without interruption. Watch this film when you have time on your own in silence and sit back to enjoy a master piece in its own right. This film is in my top 20 of all time, watch it you will not be disappointed.
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Not flashy or overly impressive but still undeniably entertaining
socrates9927 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
There are two irreplaceable stars to this fairly low budget movie, one the beautiful vision of the second earth itself, and two, Brit Marling, the beautiful protagonist who is in almost every frame. This is not a sci-fi movie in any real sense. The second earth is just a convenient device to explore the real subject of this film, the anguished journey of a young woman who has committed a horrific crime lacking any real intent.

It's easy enough to get the details of that crime before seeing the movie but suffice it to say that there was a similar incident with a young woman in my town in the near past so it had an extra level of relevance for us.

In the local case the girl got away scot-free. This movie's protagonist not only doesn't get away unscathed, she struggles in an utterly humane way to overcome her guilt. For that Brit Marling is an exquisite choice of actress who held my attention and sympathy throughout. All the more impressive because she shared writing credits with the director, Cahill.

This is an artful if bare bones film that you will forgive for having to resort to fantasy to make its points. It definitely makes me wonder what this Mike Cahill might come up with next.
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2/10
Not for me.
Dechilo19 August 2012
Keeping this short and simple:

The storyline never feels to go anywhere, the science is lame and the real story summed up in 15 words: It is a story about a car accident and a girl trying to redeem herself.

Personally I was disappointed by it as I was expecting more. If you are a science fiction fan this is probably not the film for you. If you on the other hand like to see people trying to better themselves and turn their life around (inspirational stuff, this is probably more your cup of tea!).

Finally: everyone has a right to their own opinion, I can understand why some people might love this film however it was certainly not for me.

Thanks for reading.
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8/10
Another Work of Art
LloydBayer29 April 2013
There are more than a couple of things going on here. For the casual viewer, this may be invisible to the naked eye. Having said that, if you pay a little attention, you will not only comprehend its core message, you will begin to truly appreciate the concept behind its making. Do not be thrown off by its subtle science fiction elements. If you find yourself questioning its genre, the actual story lies firmly wedged between drama and art. For this reviewer, the sci-fi aspect stands as a metaphor that powers the film's message.

17 year old Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) has just been accepted into MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Her celebration is short-lived when after a night of partying, crashes her car into a vehicle driven by John Burroughs' (William Mapother), instantly killing his wife and son. Although Rhoda appears to be intoxicated, her distraction comes from a radio broadcast stating the discovery of a planet that closely resembles Earth. Four years later, Rhoda is released from prison; her spirit broken and dreams shattered, she takes up a janitor's position at a local school. At this point, there are various theories about the other planet. When contact is made, it is established that the other planet is in fact a mirror Earth having entered our solar system from a parallel dimension. Preparations are made to travel to the other Earth and Rhoda participates in a competition to become one of the first civilians to accompany astronauts to the approaching mirror Earth. After cleaning the school for some time, Rhoda approaches John with the intention of apologizing for her carelessness, but loses her nerve and poses as a maid-to-order cleaner. A music professor at Yale, John has become an alcoholic with disregard for his profession ever since the accident. He buys into Rhoda's pretence and has her clean his house once a week. In time, she helps him overcome his grief but never discloses who she really is. Just when they seem to be drawn to each other, Rhoda wins the competition to travel to the other Earth. She must now decide between confronting her demons and telling John the truth or escape her past and start a new life on the other Earth.

Until this point, the story unfolds remarkably in an easy to watch, evenly paced narrative. As a viewer, I was captivated right from the start. Co-written by Marling and director Mike Cahill, the screenplay has impeccable character detail relating to ample areas that allow us to probe within our own faults and limitations. As the lead character, Rhoda Williams is a bright individual with an even brighter future who throws it all away with just one stupid mistake. How many of us can look within ourselves and honestly claim that we have never made a mistake worth regretting? If you can raise a hand to that question then you must be a renowned hero, or one very self-righteous individual. Cahill's biggest accomplishment is in Rhoda's character study— An intelligent and ambitious teenager reduced to a confused and troubled adult, but a wiser one having learnt from her mistake. In giving life to this character, Marling is flawless and ironically powerful as a helpless woman fallen from grace. After this movie, I can only expect that we are about to see a lot more of Marling in the years to come. William Mapother as John is almost as inspiring as a man who has lost everything but the heart to recovery. With nothing to lose, it is always easy to give up on life, but Mapother does an exceptional turn around with John and gives closure to his character. Kumar Pallana has very few scenes in this movie but plays a vital role in mentoring Rhoda into redemption. He does this without much dialogue but with uncanny screen charisma.

As a debut directorial, Cahill also gets top credit for the picture post-card cinematography. Beautiful would be an understatement. We have cinematography dependent films with similar themes in GATTACA and SOLARIS, but nothing compares to the way Cahill renders his landscape in this movie. Also noteworthy is the pulsating score, used sparingly but effectively. Additionally, there is a scene on how to make music using a tool that is usually annoying to the ear. Amazing! For a shoe-string budget, this film did not win two awards at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival by pot-luck. That alone should silence haters for questioning the film's scientific logic or lack of. This is not about conquering another planet (done to death!) or alien invasions. It is about redemption through self-discovery and re-invention of one's self esteem by learning from the past and learning to let go of the past. It is about looking at a mirror image of one's self as opposed to assuming everything is perfect. For a drama, this film is as beautiful as it is poetic. Just don't expect any eye-popping special effects. There are tons of other movies catering to that need.
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1/10
This is NOT a Science Fiction Movie.
michaelt28170208526 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Please don't read any further if you don't want to know about details in this film.

I was left very disappointed after watching this film.

Another Earth is the discovery of another planet the complete double of earth, with exactly the same people on it.

A short time into this film, we see and hear a woman talking to her exact same self via a radio transmitter. And this for me was the most interesting piece in the film.

The majority of this film has people walking around, asking themselves philosophical questions about what would they do ? and say ? if they met themselves on this other earth.

I like down to earth science fiction. I like Twilight Zone, and Outer Limits.

There is a movie with Roy Thinnes of The Invaders fame. The movie is called "Journey to the far side of the Sun", and is also about a planet the double of Earth, on the completely other side of the Sun.

I was wondering how the two films would relate ? Another Earth was for me a complete waste of time. The writers could have expanded the story from 90 minutes, and added much more.

At the end of the film, a supposed shock ending, the leading lady played by Brit Marling, ( I had never heard of her ), suddenly finds herself confronted by her "other" "Earth" self, who suddenly appears behind her, And then the screen goes black, and the credits role.

This film had plenty of interesting hype, but delivered nothing substantial, and I'm truly surprised at how many people liked it, judging by their reviews.

I thought it was rubbish, from start to finish.
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1/10
A lifeless series of stills that drift from one scene to the next.
adams13714 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I have listed this as a spoiler just in case, although I provide no details regarding the outcome of the film. I merely hint at things.

I went into Another Earth with hopes of finding something unique. After all, the trailer, log line, and tasteful stills all pointed to the idea that Mike Cahill's pet project was something different than what I was used to.

I was mistaken. Badly so.

Disappointment cannot even begin to convey my feelings towards this film. The most heartbreaking aspect of Another Earth is that it fails to deliver an emotional payoff despite consistently setting up emotional-anchored scenarios. Rhoda (Brit Marling) hits and kills the child and wife of John Burroughs (William Mapother). She sees the bodies and CUT! we jump to four years later to find her back with the family (whom, I might add, seem bizarrely awkward around their daughter. She was in jail, not Siberia, for the last four years. Did no one ever think to put visitor hours to good use?). We don't see the real emotional impact of her mistake because she comes home a living zombie: empty, quiet, deadpan, and flat out boring.

Which leads me to another problem: depressed people don't have Lego-brick personalities. And if they do, they don't star as lead characters in films (unless we're talking Twilight). Cahill seems to believe the only way to convey guilt is to make Rhoda an unkempt rag doll with an expressionless face. To him, having her stare off into space for thirty seconds shows just how "emotionally deep" her problems run. For us in the audience, it means it's time to check our watches.

The silence in the film (and there's a LOT of it) doesn't tell us anything about Rhoda. Instead, it acts as a precursor to a lot of overly artsy shots that make you think about how much color correction they did in post. In fact, this entire film could run as a series of photographic stills— after all, it seems to care more about how pretty Earth 2 looks into the sky than the emotional struggles of the girl standing beneath it.

Dialogue is contrived, painfully so. If you've watched even one Hollywood film, you can probably guess each and every line before it's said. Things fall in a predictable fashion and characters flip flop personalities depending on what the plot calls for. There are numerous points over which characters throw massive fits, only to dismiss the same problem a scene later.

And then, of course, there's the blatant unrealism of it all. No, I'm not talking about Earth 2. I can suspend my disbelief for that. What I'm talking about is the set up between Rhoda and John. Despite what John's been through, he's not an idiot; it shouldn't take him an hour and ten minutes to figure out Rhoda's not who she says she is.

Another Earth expects you to ignore basic logic in order to swallow even the most simple of moments. It interprets "suspension of disbelief" as meaning "you can't judge this film because it's artsy." This film lacks the depth it so desperately attempts to flaunt. It comes off cheesy, pretentious, shallow, and self-obsessed. Characters pinball through events and come out as empty as they started. The ones that do change do so without any real good reason. There's no pleasure to be had in watching this film unless you absolutely love staring at empty, motiveless images (and characters) for long periods of time. But if that's the case, I recommend watching a Discovery Channel doc. At least you'll be learning something.

To conclude, Another Earth is a complete waste for anyone looking to enjoy themselves. It delivers nothing in exchange for your time and money and expects you to come out praising it for its "unique delivery." Do your eyes, wallet, and gas tank a favor and avoid.
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1/10
More Holes then Swiss Cheese
yukoncornelius5528 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Saw this movie at Sundance and feel compelled to write this review because of all of the bogus hype surrounding it. This movie has so many holes that I wish the writers would have received some notes because nothing in this film makes sense. Problem one: The "other" Earth has been hidden behind the sun that's why we couldn't see it all these years we have been exploring the cosmos? Makes no sense. Planting this other planet in our solar system was a huge mistake. Problem two: It takes four years to contact and travel to the other Earth when it is ten times bigger in the sky then our own moon? Makes no sense. It does not take four years to travel to the moon and we have been doing it since 1969. Problem three: Brit Marling's character's name was not revealed to William Mapother's because she was a minor? She was a senior in high school and off to MIT so I don't think she would be a minor, and even if she was I'm sure the victim of the accident would be in the trial and see her face. You can ask the audience to take one leap of faith, but not multiple ones. If this movie had just been a film about star crossed lovers it would've been much better off. The sci-fi element is completely unnecessary and treats the audience like morons; and William Mapother is no leading man. He is super creepy. The secondary actors were sub par. Mr Littlejeans from Royal Tenenbaums makes an appearance that is just laughable. There is random voice-over from a character that is not relevant to the film. You don't even find out who it is until late in the third act. I'm sure there are people that are going to disagree with my review and that is fine but for anyone who is a sci-fi fan looking for a sci-fi movie this is not for you. The best sci-fi film I have seen at Sundance was Primer and I highly recommend that over this film.
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1/10
Another stinker of a movie to get sucked into by tasteless morons
bienfait6 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I've caught a smattering of the reviews on this god awful movie and as expected, people try to look intelligent making a dumb movie seem interesting. I should have known better given it was yet another overrated film festival piece of trash. I, like others, have a excellent sense of imagination and I certainly don't think that anyone trained in psychology is any better judge of this film. In short, an idiot girl gawks at the sky flying down the road in her car as the camera switches to a family sitting for several minutes at intersection for no explicable reason other than to get clocked by the idiot girl who could have gotten out of the car and looked at that other planet like a normal person would.

Oh the imagination. Someone hold it back, I can't see past all the marvel. For a sci-fi stinker it does what so many other wastes of film have done before it. It focuses on nearly everything one could care less about when weighed against the prospect of visiting another earth and then share's a disappointing 10 second moment where double meets double for your sci-fi ecstasy. This movie is so dull, dismal and depressing that it could put you to sleep in your sleep and kill any dreams you ever had.
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3/10
another mediocre drama
szulc-adam5 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Another Earth is a combination of irritating predictability of storytelling and imaginative genre hybridisation which makes big promises but fails to fully deliver. The director, Mike Cahill, uses a car crash as a central plot device and right after start falls into a major cliché which was so tirelessly exploited in the past by directors like Alfonso Gonzales Innaritu who based 2 of his films on a very similar idea. The young girl, who causes a car accident and kills the main character's family, seeks redemption and forgiveness and slowly falls in love with the man. But who can blame her? Both characters have their demons but are so likable we all feel that they deserve to achieve what they set out for. The man should get his family back and the girl should be finally forgiven - which all fulfils in the end. What saves the drama from being a complete overkill is the science-fiction plot line that runs parallel to dramatic struggle of the couple of protagonists. At the moment of the accident scientists make a discovery of another Earth that appears in the distance.

The discovery echoes hope that the other world might still have the lives of the loved ones that the main character lost in the beginning of the film. The scene when a governor communicates with the exact same copy of herself living on the other planet is one of the most intriguing of the entire film. It elevates a somewhat lame story to a whole new level of possible outcomes, asking questions about the meaning of life and escaping ones destiny. Sadly, the director articulates these philosophical matters very softly and fills his story with unnecessary love tale and ends with a cliff-hanger which makes us go 'What the hell?' rather than 'Wow!'

Still, as Another Earth is Cahill's first feature film, he should be given a bit of credit for making a wholesome, solid plot. Hopefully in his feature he will take risks more courageously as there is a lot of potential in the way he ties indie film with the school of existentialism.
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8/10
Two Can Be as Bad as One; It's the Loneliest Number Since One
alexart-14 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Just what is it about indie science fiction that is so fascinating? Maybe it's the idea that great effects are done on a small budget. Or maybe it's the simple fact that it's indie filmmaking. Regardless of pretense or the filmmaker's confinements, indie movies of the "lesser" genres (action, horror, sci-fi, etc.) almost always impress, Another Earth being no exception to this general rule.

Another Earth marks a marvelous turn that most sci-fi movie writers are too scared to take, and that is into the realm of a character drama. Mike Cahill's thought-provoking debut as director (and writer and cinematographer and editor) is a risky venture, but it almost always works. Unfortunately, Cahill has concocted a premise that is too interesting for his small, pensive movie, but the beautiful Brit Marling makes it possible to ignore most of the film's most glaring issues as she sweeps the audience away with her acting.

It's best to go into Another Earth without any outside knowledge, but if you've come to this page, you probably know too much already. Here is your chance to leave before I begin with story details...

Still with me? Good. Another Earth is centered around Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling), an MIT student who becomes frenzied after she finds out that scientists have discovered a planet nicknamed Earth 2. Earth 2 is the same in composition as our earth, however the problem is that Earth 2 has suddenly moved from behind the sun and into view in our night sky. Rhoda drunkenly leaves a party and drives away, only to accidentally hit another family's car while she is stargazing. The mother and child are killed; the father (William Mapother), on the other hand, is left in a coma. Four years later, Rhoda is released from jail and the father awakens from his coma. It's up to Rhoda to find the courage to apologize and right what she has done wrong.

Visually, Another Earth is an impressive film. There's a constant reminder that the film is independent--Cahill is forced to rely on grainy hand-held shots for some of the film's most beautiful moments--and yet it's very well-done for a film that supposedly cost $150,000 to make. Cahill returns to his roots in filming sharks and jellyfish for National Geographic by giving the human form a feeling of mystique. There are quite a few shots of Rhoda walking in slow-motion, Earth 2 looming in the background. But it's all worth it: the viewer is constantly introduced to the world's cruelty and ugliness, but Cahill has somehow made it serene and strangely inviting.

Whether or not Another Earth could have possibly held together without great actors is something that should be called into question. Brit Marling gives the performance that every actress wants to give. She adds a seemingly impossible amount of depth to the character of Rhoda. We feel her pain constantly, and it's all thanks to Marling. Marling is worthy of a Best Actress nomination for her work in Another Earth. Although William Mapother is not to be ignored either. Maybe you've seen him on "Lost" when he played Ethan, however here, he doesn't play a baddie. He's honest and human in his slice-of-life performance.

Another Earth isn't perfect, in fact, it's far from it. The interesting ideas of two earths, a whole new you, and fear of doppelgangers is underused, if not absent entirely. The ending is, without a doubt, science fiction at its best, however it's really the only scene in the movie that is pure sci-fi. The ending could be a "twist," but I'm not going to call it that because the ending is just as subtle as the rest of the movie. Nevertheless, it packs a punch. Cahill should feature the same premise in his next film, but this time, he should entertain all the special effects that everyone wanted to see in this one.

At the Sundance Film Festival this year, Another Earth won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize, an award given to the film that best portrays a sci-fi story. There may not have been many movies at Sundance that could have qualified, but there's no question that Another Earth deserved. Cahill's first movie is quiet, well-made, and has the makings of an indie classic. Brit Marling and William Mapother's chemistry perfectly fits Cahill's excellent script, causing the audience to ponder "What if...?" for the entire movie. It's mystifying science fiction, the kind without explosions and the kind without little green men. And Cahill proves that this, this lo-fi, destructive, and emotionally tense meditation, may be the best kind of science fiction.
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1/10
The Junk Food of SciFi
oana-drbnt23 December 2014
It is mind blowing to me that this movie got nominated for awards. I am in utter disbelief that it actually won 7.

The script is downright terrible, predictable and cheesy. It starts off as if it might be a good movie, but down the line, you figure out it's just a romantic comedy without the comedy. And without the Hollywood production. How many types of camera where used in making this film? What's with the ever so useless zooming in on conversation alongside shaky camera work?

Why is this movie so blown out to be about Another Earth (sci-fi), yet that subject barely makes it through 10 minutes of the entire movie?

The acting to me was also horrible. The long pauses didn't serve for anything. You can't create suspense with dramatic pauses when the screenplay is as predictable as Cinderella's plot.

Awful, dreadful, junk.
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8/10
Interesting and Not What You Might Expect
sethaz-759-1153357 December 2019
I don't consider this Sci-Fi. I won't criticize scientific and technical imperfections because they are nearly irrelevant in this small-budget undertaking. The "2nd earth" itself is just an allegorical device bearing upon "1st earth" conundrums. The pace is intentionally slow and deliberate, allowing plenty of time to chew on situations and alternatives. Brit Marling is marvelous as the beautiful, thoughtful protagonist who creates and dominates virtually every scene. This unassuming film will not change your life, but it poses some interesting questions (and possible answers) a viewer might want to consider. If you choose to watch, be patient and give it a chance.
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1/10
Low budget indie character drama NOT a sci-fi
juneebuggy29 September 2014
Wow, what the hell did I just watch? Definitely not what I was expecting. Why is this being plugged as a science fiction movie? It isn't. Another Earth is a low budget, indie, character drama with an intriguing sci-fi idea, never explored to its potential.

It follows 'Rhoda' an astrophysics student who accidentally kills several people in a car accident. After serving 4 years in prison, she is released and tries to atone for the tragedy by cleaning the surviving victims house and joining an expedition to a new planet.

I suppose if I hadn't gone into this expecting something completely different it might have worked for me, but no probably not then either because I wouldn't have even bothered. The only thing I did like was the "second earth" showing in the night sky beside the moon special effect. 7/24/14
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3/10
7 out of 10? Really?
tim-arnold77723 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I have to admit that when I see a movie that IMDb has rated 7 out of a possible 10 stars, I would tend to think that it is 20% above average. Either I am a horrible judge of film, or entertainment in general, or Another Earth is a confusing and choppy attempt at film. The premise of this movie is interesting, yet most, if not all, of the glaring problems of that premise are not addressed.

First, there is no explanation of how Earth 2's planetary existence could emerge suddenly and not have catastrophic gravitational impact on Earth 1 and her moon—let alone Earth 1's orbit around the Sun. Also take into consideration the number of times we see a contradiction between the location of Earth 1's illumination source (Sun) and Earth 2's which are notably different in several scenes.

Now I realize that a suspension of some disbelief is required for the enjoyment of fictional stories, but the gaping chasms that my disbelief was required to span were simply preposterous. I had to re-watch several scenes to convince myself that I had not fallen asleep, thereby missing important content that might explain some of the film's gaps in it's own storyline.

Sometimes, I can't help but wonder if the IMDb's rating system is easily hacked or not subject to a large enough number of reviews to earn a rating. How many good or bad reviews does it take to rate a movie on IMDb?
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4/10
Another Disappointment
ZenaeFilmZ26 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I have been anticipating to see this film for a few months now. I finally dragged a few friends with me to see it and I must say I am completely let down. The film would have been better if there was no secondary Earth. The whole time you are thinking "when do we get to see this Earth like planet?". You follow this wonderful story premise but boring and poor execution instead. The pacing was extremely slow, the cinematography was extremely bland. There was no continuity with the shots and the color. The whole film has a bland hand held look and then you have one shot of her walking on the beach (POSTER SHOT!) and it's more colorful yet looks like it had a poorly done color overly contrasting effect over it and there's a voice over that came out of nowhere. Who places a voice over in the middle of the film? The acting was poor and not realistic, the dialog was not natural at all, you get bored following this girl. The story has potential but sadly it failed. All in all I want my $13 back.
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2/10
Horrible slow movie filled with bad acting and plot wholes the size of earth
Jacuk4 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In the famous words of Brando.

"You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am

This sums up this movie to a tee.

The story is about a young girl just getting started on her life who makes a terrible decision which costs her own future.

This in itself is a poorly done plot, since most people in the US know that if your under 18 the legal system doesn't treat you as an adult and even though the accident had a fatal consequences, the outcome would have good chance of not ending as we seen in this movie, a under 18 would also have gotten her records sealed even if she is 21 when she comes out of jail.

But it's something that you can overlook if it wasn't because the movie itself keeps this premise up and continue down a slow road and adds to the plot holes.

Another fatal failure is the whole concept about another earth that mimics Earth 1 if you know anything about the multiverse you know that even though yes there is copies they won't be the exact same I could easily continue with other key elements but that would be spoiling the movie for those who despite this warning still goes and rents it.

Because combined with the plot the acting is absolutely horrible, the young girl played by Brit Marling is unbelievable pale and artificial and not very trustworthy in the role and almost every sentence she has seem to be read direct from a script. William Mapother who plays John is also stale and when we think of him as the same guy we have seen in lost its almost unbearable to see him in this B-rated movie that would be best left alone as a script on the bottom of some directors desk

So don't waste your time watching this because it's a hour and half better spent on something else perhaps go give your family a nice night out or watch paint dry.
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1/10
Another Hour and a Half Wasted!
icdrgon29 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I finally finished watching this thing...it took awhile since I kept falling asleep. All I can say is this movie really shows the lengths that someone, with a severely warped ego and sense of over-bloated self worth, will go to put some independent dribble that can't make it in theaters on to a disc and thoroughly waste more than an hour of my time.

Some may say this is a voyage of self discovery, but instead, it is a mangled web of deceit and psychological abuse, by a negligent murderer, so thinly woven that it bears no resemblance to entertainment at all. The only exciting parts of this movie are the car accident in the beginning, the almost heated moment of a non-moving emotionally burdened sex scene & the fact that the movie is OVER!
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