Opening 10 Nov 2011
Rhoda has her head in the cloudless sky, not just because she is a dreamy young woman, but also because she hopes to study astrophysics. High above her and the car she is driving is a new world, an Earth 2. What could be more interesting on a dark night? Unfortunately, while gazing at this new planet, she rams another car and kills a family; only the husband survives. She goes straight off – not to MIT to study as planned – but to prison to serve four years for involuntary manslaughter. Upon her release, she takes a job as a school janitor. Parallel to her life, the life of the unknown survivor of this accident, John Burroughs (William Mapother), must also go on. He is devastated and seems to retire from his profession as a world-famous composer and musician, to withdraw into a self-made cocoon in an unimposing house on the outskirts of town. Soon Rhoda meets John, although he is unaware that she is responsible for the death of his family. She begins work as his cleaning lady and their relationship develops into more. Television news focuses relentlessly on Earth 2, which scientists say is an exact replica of our own, possibly even including perfect replicas of “us” such as Rhoda and John. Perhaps this other “me” is doing the same things, or, if not the same, then perhaps something different, in which case one would have a second chance on Earth 2. In the end, with John’s support, Rhoda accepts the rare chance to travel to Earth 2.
Some journalists are comparing Another Earth to Melancholia, which also features a new planet – one which will soon crash into the earth. Melancholia was nominated for all kinds of best European film prizes. While Melancholia is hopeless and fatal, Another Earth is optimistic and forgiving. It is also very well acted with newcomer Brit Marling playing Rhoda. She also collaborated with first-time director Mike Cahill to write the script. This is an unusual storyline, not really science fiction, and has won prizes at the 2011 Sundance Festival. (Becky Tan)