What if there was another planet Earth hidden on the far side of the sun that suddenly became visible, filling the night sky like a large blue moon? And what if this planet was an exact parallel of our own, with every person and action duplicated? What if something happened which suddenly allowed events to unfold differently on each planet? What would you say if you met your double on this other Earth?
This theme was explored in an interesting sci-fi film from 1969 called Journey to the Far Side of the Sun. It is not really explored in Another Earth, where this theme is primarily a backdrop to the story of a young woman (Rhoda, played by Brit Marling) who drives while drunk, kills a mother and child and tries to figure out a way to live with herself after spending four years in prison. Living with herself includes befriending, incognito, the father and husband of the deceased, whose life Rhoda has shattered.
This quirky low-budget indie drama about two lonely broken people who find temporary relief in each other’s company is strangely compelling. The acting is not outstanding, the cinematography is of the jerky handheld variety that I don’t usually like, and the writing and directing by Mike Cahill has its share of flaws. And yet Another Earth is always engaging and thought-provoking and the characters real and sympathetic enough to make me care.
Another Earth left an impression on me and made me think (e.g. about the different directions life can take because of one small choice), so I am going to give it ***+. My mug is up.