Another Earth

Got a tip about this movie from someone I know; he’d actually tweeted about it and I asked him how it was. I then checked out the trailer in Youtube and loved the feel of it and just had to watch it. A 2011 movie, Another Earth is the directorial debut of Mike Cahill and stars William Mapother and Brit Marling.  It was highly praised at the 27th Sundance Film Festival.

There’s two storylines in this film; the main one is about Rhoda (Brit Marling) a bright student who gets admission to MIT and has a party with friends. Intoxicated at the end, she still drives home in her car when a story on the radio catches her attention. As Rhoda listens to the news reports a planet that looks exactly like earth approaching us, she inadvertently slams into a car, injuring herself and killing a young mother and her son. The father John Burroughs’, a Yale music instructor & prominent composer, survives but is in a coma. As she is a minor, her name is kept out of the records and is unknown to John. She serves time in a juvenile jail and comes back to her family 4 years later.

During the 4 years the second earth has approached closer & closer. Deeply affected by the accident Rhoda does go to college but joins up as a janitor at a high school. She also enters an essay contest sponsored by a millionaire entrepreneur who is offering a civilian space flight to the approaching mirror Earth. One day she sees John putting flowers on the spot where the accident happens and follows him home. She pretends to be from a maid service company offering a free cleaning as part of a marketing program. A depressed & drunk John agrees and once she is done he asks to come back the same day every week for cleaning. She agrees tentatively but she does come and develops a caring relationship with him. John has no idea that it was her in the car that caused the death of his wife & son.

They like each other and are intelligent and compatible conversationally. Meanwhile, Rhoda also develops a friendship with an elderly janitor Purdeep (Kumar Pallana). Purdeep is defeated in life and one day blinds his eyes by pouring bleach into them. As he lays in hospital, Rhoda comforts him, lying next to the grandfather figure. Later her relationship with John becomes more romantic as they make love. A few days later Rhoda gets a call informing her that she has won the contest and will be one of the first to explore the other earth. Rhoda tells John she has won the space flight, but he asks her not to go. However, when she tells him that she was the one who killed his wife and son, he forces her out of his house.

Rhoda then hears in a telecast that the citizen of the second earth were identical to the ones on our earth in every way until the moment that each learned of the other’s existence. From that moment on, the lives of the identical people on both earths began to deviate in small ways, each action independently changing the lives. Rhoda hopes her identical self on the other Earth did not make the mistakes she made on the night of the accident. She runs to John’s house and convinces him to take her ticket and go to the other earth, with the  small hope that his wife and son might be alive on that planet. John accepts the gift and becomes one of the first civilian space travelers to the other Earth. 4 months pass and as Rhoda comes home one evening, she see her twin from the other earth standing at her doorstep.

This is not a movie for everybody; a little movie with a big heart that excels in the performance of it’s small cast. In what should be a scifi fest, it becomes a story about a young girl repenting for her one big mistake, one that cost the lives of two innocents. In the backdrop of the movie is the approaching alternate earth on which all of us on this earth has an identical twin. Good film and I think you should all watch it. 9 out of 10!

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