“Science fiction at its best” — Kirk Honeycutt, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“A visually inspired fantasy” — Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE
Director: Mike Cahill
Screenplay: Mike Cahill, Brit Marling
Cast: Brit Marling, William Mapother, Jordan Baker
Producers: Hunter Gray, Mike Cahill, Brit Marling, Nicholas Shumaker
Print Source: Fox Searchlight
2011 | 12 min
Drinking with friends at a party celebrating her acceptance to MIT, young astrophysics student Rhonda sees a bright future ahead of her. What she sees more immediately, as she drives woozily home, is a blue sphere in the heavens, an oddly familiar planet that has no business being there. What she doesn’t see is the oncoming minivan with renowned composer John Burroughs and his family aboard. The accident leaves Burroughs in a coma, his wife and children dead, and Rhonda in prison. Released after four years, she seeks out Burroughs, now a hollowed-out wreck, for forgiveness. Unable to reveal the truth once face to face with him, she instead presents herself as a maid for hire, something Burroughs could use — that and human contact. Meanwhile, contact has been made with what’s now called Earth 2, a mirror image of our own world close enough to reach out to. Rhonda has a chance to in fact visit Earth 2 — but is it a step forward into tomorrow, or a path back, a way to erase the trauma of the recent past?
Like Andrei Tarkovsky’s classic SOLARIS, Andrew Niccol’s elegant GATTACA or William Eubank’s meditative, psychedelic LOVE (the latter screening at Fantasia this year), ANOTHER EARTH comes from the metaphysical strain of science fiction cinema in which technological novelty and deep-space speculation are merely secondary. Rather, these films journey inward, not outward, as they chart the patterns and projected paths of human minds and souls. ANOTHER EARTH does so with grace and empathy, employing a concept previously explored in Gerry Anderson’s JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN (1969) — on a world that is an exact reflection of our own, would we therefore find our own doubles, our own lives occurring in parallel?
ANOTHER EARTH may not introduce an entirely unfamiliar planet to the heavens, but it does usher into the firmament of filmmaking a pair of new talents to keep an eye on. Director/co-producer/co-writer Mike Cahill makes his fiction-feature debut following time served as a documentary director, notably working for National Geographic. Co-writer, co-producer and star Brit Marling, meanwhile, left a promising career in investment banking to co-direct the documentary BOXERS AND BALLERINAS before creating this film with Cahill. Too bad for the realm of high finance. It’s the far more sympathetic cinematic scene of small budgets building big ideas that gains from Marling’s decision. Now, which world will Rhonda choose?