Another Earth (2011)

So, you’re trying to tell me that there is another Dan the Man? I gotta meet this a-hole!

After a terrible incident, brilliant MIT astrophysics student Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) lands herself in jail for quite some time. That’s why when she gets out, not everything is as normal as she once had imagined. But, she eventually strikes up a relationship with a composer who has just reached the pinnacle of his profession (William Mapother), even though he is suffering from a severe bout of depression. Also to add a bit of insult to injury, there’s a duplicate Earth that appears in the sky that nobody on “real” Earth has any idea to make of it, although there’s plenty of discussions and ideas floating all around.

The whole idea behind this movie, is a pretty cool one to say the least. There’s this other planet, that features imitations of us, doing the same things we do, acting the same way we do, and even living out our lives the same way we do. Even as unlikely as that may be, it’s still pretty cool and gives this flick a sci-fi edge that can’t be ignored.

However, I wish the actual creators of this film knew that because holy hot damn does this baby not make sense!

Okay, first of all, let me just start off by pointing out where this film did not make single bit of sense to me. The times that they explain “Earth version 2” makes no sense because it seems like the planet has seem to come out of nowhere. I highly doubt that a planet would just pop-up in our atmosphere without anybody realizing anything in the first place, and then come so close to our planet, without ever causing any chaotic imbalances. For example, Earth version 2 is so close to our atmosphere that it pretty much seems as if it’s going to hit us straight-on and nothing ever changes. The waves don’t pick up, fires don’t ever ignite, light never changes, and hell, there wasn’t even gusts of wind that ever seemed to get vicious.

"It says that I have to be 'moody and silent'. Now, how the hell do I do that?"
“It says that I have to be ‘moody and silent’. Now, how the hell do I do that?”

Granted, the whole film looked miserable with it’s hand-held approach, but nothing ever seems to put these people in danger by the fact that this other planet may possibly collide with their own. I’m not a huge science fan or anything, but even I myself know a thing or two about our globe and what would happen if any other the size of our own came close to us. Maybe a science-major knows more of this than I do, but if so, then so be it. I might just be ignorant and all.

Anyway, all that science-babble aside, the movie’s pretty fine. It just takes awhile of getting used to once you realize that this movie isn’t going to be sci-fi based at all; it’s just going to feature some elements to make a rather human-story, seem even more human.

The main theme behind this flick is the idea of being forgiven because of the proposition of another life being out there. The idea of another life is obviously replaced by the symbolism of the other Earth that’s out there and still offers up the same ideas, but it’s well-done and thought-provoking. Can we be forgiven for something as terrible as the act committed here in this movie in another life? Or, will the guilt of that act always be with us no matter where our minds, bodies, or souls travel towards? It brings up a lot of good points and I liked the way director Mike Cahill brings that out in this production that literally seems like he got it made in his backyard.

Granted, there are a lot of scenes and moments in this flick that come off as a bit pretentious where these people all seem to be talking way too philosophically about nothing, but in the realms of the atmosphere that Cahill creates, it seems reasonable and that’s what I liked most about this flick. It is a very grim tale, but it also shows you the ways that certain people forgive others and forgive themselves in the meantime. The romance that is even created between these two, feels real because they both need each other in their lives but there is still an ounce of mystery and tension because there is that one big secret that keeps them apart and the way they get through it is something that came off as very real.

But then when you have a story like this, along with a pretty neat idea about another Earth being out there, you would think that this film would really pack an original and emotional punch but somehow just doesn’t. The explored territory is dramatic, but not very original or refreshing. The way this relationship goes between these two people is at first interesting because it’s usually how all strangers start off by getting to know one another, but then there is this one scene that sort of blows that whole romance-angle out of proportion and makes it seem a bit melodramatic. That bummed me out too because it seemed like this film was really going to hit that romance angle hard, along with that other Earth idea, but instead comes off as a bit disjointed where one subject gets more attention than the other. Could have really went somewhere, but just never fully amounts to the greatness it could have achieved.

B Rabbit in 20 years.
B Rabbit in 20 years.

The real greatness behind this film lies within Brit Marling as she not only co-wrote this flick, but also stars in it as Rhoda Williams. There’s something about Marling that caught me off-guard right from the start where she seemed like this type of gal that has a lot more to her, rather than just being a plain, simple, and pretty blonde. Instead, she seemed more complex than that and her character shows that. Rhoda is pretty much a mess and there are a lot of key scenes where we see how she lives with the life she now has after this horrible incident and it comes off as very interesting and in a way, I would have liked to see her own film dedicated strictly to that idea. Marling always seems like a compelling figure in this film and I felt totally behind her character even though she committed this horrible act and it’s just another layer that was able to added onto her already three-dimensional character.

Then, there’s William Mapother, who is always good in everything he does and proves it once again here. It’s crazy to see the transition this guy goes through from being a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, to all of a sudden changing up his ways and becoming more stand-offish to people after this horrible incident. It seems very real, as that’s how Mapother plays it as so, but how he starts to go back to his old ways and look at life with a smile again, also seems very realistic and shows you how complex this guy can be in his own right. They had a nice chemistry together that didn’t just seem like two people who were lonely and needed a nice hump or two, but more of a connection to a human instead. It’s a really nice element to this flick and I could have only wished they focused on that a lot more.

Consensus: The premise is interesting and the performances are wonderful, but Another Earth does suffer a bit from not going further, and digging deeper into the promise it creates.

6 / 10 = Rental!!

Damn seagulls always ruining a great shot.
Damn seagulls always ruining a great shot.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJoblo


  1. I really liked this movie. I thought the story was really compelling. Plus, Brit Marling was excellent. It drag un spots and you’re right about the “science” part of science fiction. The movie paid virtually no attention to it. It went hard on the human side of things and succeeded. Good review, Dan.

  2. I always appreciated this film for it’s subtle approach to the science aspect of its premise. When you consider what Another Earth is truly suggesting about our universe/existence, subtle seems like the right route. Especially when you don’t want to alienate a significant part of the audience with the sheer magnitude and meaning of what Cahill is proposing. Excellent film, in my opinion. Outstanding review Dan :).

  3. Great review, Dan! I found this really intriguing, coming hot on the heels of the fabulous Melancholia, another getting-rather-too-close planet encounter with strong elements of human depression and past traumas. While Lars von Trier repeatedly emphasised the sci-fi, Another Earth is more of a character study while Earth 2 hangs in the sky. I really wanted to know more about where it had come from and what was happening there, but a lot of time is dedicated to Marling and Mapother mostly skulking around the latter’s house. It’s a beautiful film to look at and very thought-provoking, but you’re right, it should have been so much better.

  4. A massive extinction event would follow a close planetary encounter like that…the other Earth would pull us slightly, changing out orbit. But it’s a movie so it’s all good!

  5. Nice job, certainly agree that this film is forgiveness but not because “of the proposition of another life being out there” but because I feel that the other Earth represents a second chance for Rhonda. People are deserving of a second chance despite the errors they may have made.

    Also I am in love with Brit Marling…

  6. Bah, don’t think too much about the science aspect of the movie, it’s a character film that uses the backdrop to explore its character depth, and in that regard, this movie excels. I thought this was surprisingly impressive, and was among my favorites to come out in 2011. Nice review, Dan.

  7. I am so happy you reviewed this movie! I came across it by accident and loved the thought of the story even though the ending left me wanting more. I will watch any movie with Brit Marling because she is beautiful and talented. I would score this movie a 7 but respect your rating and review. Great job as always Dan.

  8. I liked this film when I first watched it, mainly because of Marling’s utterly captivating performance. Definitely need to see it again, you’ve pointed out some really intriguing themes that I might’ve missed. Great work Dan.


  9. Nice review what I like though is you review some movie that I didn’t know about or forgot to see it . I am going to have to get on it.

  10. Good review man, Another Earth seems kinda gimmicky to me like Upside-Down was. But Upside-Down really ended up disappointing me bc it didn’t really do much with it’s central premise. This one sounds like it’s got more going for it. I am a really big geek for these kinds of sci-fi tales, though so i’ll def be on the lookout for this

  11. I really admire Brit Marling. She’s one cool lady. This film has intrigued me for so long but I’ve never gotten around to watching it. I think I’ll have to check it out.

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