Most people who have seen at least three decades have something of which they look back on with regret: a job not taken, a relationship not pursued, an investment not made, a friendship not saved, a word not spoken.
“Another Earth” is a film about regret and remorse.
Yes, “Another Earth” is a science-fiction film. If one has seen the trailer, he or she already knows too much of the plot.
A new planet appears in earth’s sky, and as the planet gets closer, it’s determined that it is an exact replica of Earth. When verbal contact is made, we learn that not only does the planet look like Earth but exact copies of each person exist.
The film focuses on Rhoda Williams (played perfectly by Brit Marling), a young woman filled with regret.
As a teenager, she had very poor judgment, and her choices created great heartache for others. Rhoda yearns to visit the other Earth, believing that perhaps the other Rhoda did not make the same mistakes.
Her desire to find redemption also takes other forms as she pursues actions that may or may not compound the pain she has already caused.
“Another Earth” is a small, quiet film. There are no amazing special effects, though the shots of the other Earth in the sky are a great image.
There are no recognizable actors, with perhaps the exception of William Mapother (who fans of TV’s “Lost” will recognize as Ethan Rom).
The production values of the film are nothing compared to any of the big blockbusters that have filled local multiplexes this summer. Some will even say the film is slow, but a better term is paced.
And as stated above, too many of the plot points are revealed in the trailer, but those are not the reasons to see “Another Earth” anyway.
Like the marvelous “The Tree of Life” from earlier this year, “Another Earth” is not a film for everyone. In fact, it is probably not a film for most people.
The sci-fi elements are only there to move the plot. And the plot is not some grand epic, but a small personal story about one young girl and her desire to find redemption and forgiveness for and from herself.
The climax of the film is quite satisfying, and the ending is perfect, though it may confound many who like things wrapped up neatly. Upon reflection, there is great truth in the resolution of things.
Regret can devour much of life and redemption often comes through sacrifice. In the Christian faith, much attention is given to both regret and sacrifice.
Believers are called to regret and repent the sins of their lives. Salvation comes through the sacrifice of Christ, and those saved are called to embrace a life where personal sacrifice is often required.
“Another Earth” is not a religious film, but it is deeply spiritual.
I saw this film alone, and I found myself wishing I had seen it with four or five of my closest friends. “Another Earth” should be viewed with people who know each other quite well, almost to absolute transparency.
This could be good friends, family members, a spouse. But in a conversation where one can truly share the great regrets of life, a discussion about this film would be exciting and inspiring.
MPAA Rating: PG for disturbing images, some sexuality, nudity and brief drug use.
Director: Mike Cahill
Writers: Brit Marling and Mike Cahill
Cast: William Mapother: John Burroughs; Brit Marling: Rhoda Williams; Matthew-Lee Erlbach: Alex; Meggan Lennon: Maya Burroughs.
The movie’s website is here.