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Another Earth Movie Review

Mike Cahill’s Another Earth Start’s out almost as a comedy before turning into somewhat of a tragedy throughout the rest of the film. A young Rhoda Williams alters her seemingly bright future drastically after drinking one night then ending up in a car crash which changes her life. Just years later, in movie time, another Earth’s tone suddenly changes from brightly lit party scenes then into a dark, dreary, blue that fits the color of Rhoda’s new uniform when she walks out of prison then becomes a janitor at a local high school. Besides the unique story which seems to work its way backwards, the main thing I like about the film is that it manages to portray a unique viewpoint of how extraterrestrial civilizations may not be very different from societies on Earth since it clearly adds a human touch to beings living on Another Earth’s fictional Earth 2.

A subtle suspense emanates also throughout this film since not much is known about how beings on Earth 2 live until an evening news broadcast reveals more details about life on the alternate Earth. As explained above, the main motif within this movie keeps Cahill’s film interesting since it probably would have been just another boring romantic drama if it weren’t for the lingering mystery which is another, moonlike, Earth. This film also hints at deeply rooted cultural issues of ways class can determine how people get perceived within their society since Rhoda’s old classmates seem disappointed after she admits to them that she cleans a high school instead of teaching at it. This part of the film not only highlights how Rhoda’s previous choices affected her future but also sheds more light on many themes this movie attempts to portray.

When observing Another Earth from a deeper perspective, it’s also easy to conclude that the film suggest small choices often have larger consequences since they can lead to drastically different outcomes for people, groups, nations, and planets. This becomes clearer as the film gets nearer towards it’s conclusion since the effects of Rhoda’s behavior echo through the entire movie as if she’s haunted by her other self on Earth 2. The protagonist also puts herself into somewhat of a prisoner’s dilemma through the film since she decides to conceal the truth about what she did to the family of a composer she falls in love with throughout most of Cahill’s movie. I personally think the dramatic irony within this part of the film also makes it somewhat predictable too since viewers already know that she will eventually admit the truth.

One odd thing about the movie is that the main character gets out of prison instead of serving life after committing vehicular homicide. A jury scene or two might have made this film more interesting, especially since it’s a drama, but it was probably left out so the movie’s pace wouldn’t be interrupted. Another oddity within this movie is that the gravitational effects of Earth 2 don’t seem to effect tides on the original Earth. I think this can be seen as a mistake within the film, scientifically speaking, even though it also adds intrigue and mystery within this movie since it’s not very clear whether Earth 2 is a physical planet or, possibly, some type of gateway to another dimension.

One last gripe I have about the film is the subliminal advertising. Again, this is another strength/ weakness within the film since the way it’s done fits well with many themes within Cahill’s movie. When Rhoda looks up Earth 2 online she uses Google search to find the website which eventually leads her to an essay contest by a millionaire entrepreneur who offers flights to Earth 2 in exchange for well written words. I think the subliminal here is well done even though I’m personally not fond of too much in film advertising. In a way though, the idea that search engines can lead someone to another planet, or dimension, is somewhat true since people often find things which can change the way they see then relate with the world around them online.

The ending of the film is also well done since the protagonist makes up for her mistake by letting the person she’d wronged take her ticket to Earth 2. Before the credits roll Rhoda incidentally sees herself as if the script writer is suggesting she must eventually face herself by reflecting on, then confronting, choices she’d made earlier. Overall, the film offers a refreshing take on a genre which is usually filled with predictable creature versus man plot-lines by blending romantic drama with science fiction. Even though Another Earth does have minor flaws, they don’t get in the way of making this movie a worthwhile watch which can be interpreted in a variety of different ways.

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