Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Another Earth

Another Earth
Brit Marling and William Mapother

Rated: PG-13  
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 22, 2011 Released by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

A heady new drama filled with ambition is Mike Cahill's undernourished Another Earth.
Cahill's writing partner Brit Marling stars with William Mapother (Tom Cruise's cousin) in what comes across as philosophical science-fiction with a second planet almost virtually like ours in every way. How the viewer engages the Rhoda character (played by Marling) and the "what if" from the luminous blue orb so closer will determine how special it all is. There could be people like us on this new planet, but not exactly with our exact histories.
When Earth 2 is discovered an euphoric, inebriated high-school grad Rhoda (after being accepted to MIT to study astrophysics) on her way home looks up to see it. In a quick blithe moment she inflicts tragedy onto composer and Yale professor John Burroughs (Mapother). Burroughs eventually comes out of a coma while losing his wife and young son.
Instead of pursuing her degree after an undergrad term of jail time, Rhoda opts for high-school janitorial employment. Here, Another Earth maneuvers from guilt and suffering to love and forgiveness as she offers a maid service and, later, herself to John after trekking to southern Connecticut without an intended reconciliation.
Obviously, what looks to have some potential from the possibility of what makes one different from anything beyond our realm just seems out of reach. Cahill goes for a particular metaphorical touch as a romance begins to blossom with a chance to board a shuttle to a place presumably attempting to forge its own extraterrestrial relations.
The result is decently low-key but too measured and vanilla to capitalize on realizing how provocative its wisdom can be. The filmmakers just don't have the nerve to make the concept more profound for the viewer as Mapother (a solid character actor recalled from In The Bedroom) and,especially, a stilted Marling appear more like drones. Another Earth just doesn't express interpretative meaningful cinema that its mirror images project.

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