Another Earth Review

Regret and guilt can be dangerous and volatile emotions.

Like weeds, these can develop through time, unless you find the source and halt the growth of these nuisances at the source.

Cheesy metaphors aside, what’s even more hazardous for your own peace of mind is an active combination of these two feelings.

Directed by Mike Cahill, Another Earth utilises science fiction as a tool to explore the twin notions of guilt and regret, as well as the consequences these may carry on a person’s life if left unchecked.

I fear any sci-fi buffs anticipating mind-blowing CGI and alien invasions will be disappointed by this film, as it is more akin to a heightened drama with the sci-fi element symbolising deeper human desires.

Rhoda Williams, played by the talented Brit Marling, has just been accepted to read astrophysics at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After a celebratory house party, she drives home intoxicated and is distracted by a breaking story on the radio of an approaching planet that looks like earth

As she peers into the night sky to try and catch a glimpse of this anomaly, Rhoda inadvertently crashes into a waiting car at full speed.

Four years later, having now completed her jail sentence, Rhoda is a much changed person. The bright and sociable young woman she once was has been replaced by a reclusive and emotionally conflicted shadow of her former self.

Desperate to heal her psychological wounds, Rhoda decides to visit the victim of her reckless behaviour, John Burroughs, to see if she can glean redeem her past acts.

All the while, that second earth looms ever closer.

A subtle, reflective and mysterious film, Another Earth is fundamentally a case study on the lengths a guilt ridden person will go to confront their parasitic emotional afflictions.

With a slow paced plot, Cahill’s film relies on the emotions and situations to speak, giving the viewer space to piece together their own theory on how the arrival of a second earth corresponds to Rhoda’s unfortunate predicament.

Aside from being a well acted, realistic sci-fi based piece of cinema, Another Earth is also Brit Marling’s acting, writing, and producing debut; a creative combination that must have demanded her involvement in every level of filmmaking.

Yet with its pleasing blend of both the drama and sci-fi genres, Marling’s efforts have reaped a great result and offers up a tantalising taste of things to come from her.

So, fortunately for me, Another Earth’s enduring theme of regret is not one I experienced after watching this.

Kareem Ghezawi

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Dates ‘n stuff

December 2011