REVIEW: Another Earth

12 08 2011

Don’t let the Sundance laurel fool you – “Another Earth” is just as disposable as your average mainstream sci-fi flick nowadays.  Mike Cahill’s directorial debut, also written by he and the film’s star Brit Marling, is a disaster from its opening minutes and limps along for another hour and a half barely breathing.  To say that it wears out its welcome is quite the understatement because by the time it ends, you’ll feel like you accidentally walked into the multiplex’s sensory deprivation chamber.

Another cliched saying applicable here would be “don’t judge a movie by its trailer” since it must be for another movie, not “Another Earth.”  If you were drawn in by the intriguing premise of parallel worlds and science-fiction interplanetary travel, you are in for otherworldly disappointment.  The best thing the movie had to offer is little more than a subplot, a plot gimmick occasionally brought up in conversation but never fulfilling its enormous potential.  When the film finally cashes in on this underworked aspect in its dying breath, it feels like something we were expecting in the first reel.

The movie’s main plot, on the other hand, abandons originality and settles for a contrived tale of a woman (Marling) coping with grief.  After killing John Burroughs’ (William Mapother) wife and child in a drunken driving accident, she feels the need for catharsis by bringing herself closer to the pain that still haunts her.  Sound familiar?

I made a list of 10 movies in the past 5 years that have done it better.  But even more than that, it’s a carbon copy of last year’s “Rabbit Hole” that lost all its heart, emotion, and power in the transfer.  Nicole Kidman and company make their grief truly moving, while Brit Marling’s painfully reserved, borderline masochistic behavior combined with William Mapother’s endless moping makes for a brutal watch.  The only thing they succeed in doing is making you wish you could be transported to another earth – one where you didn’t waste your time watching this movie.  D / 


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5 responses

28 07 2011
Andrew

I was disappointed to read bad press on this over at Badass Digest, and it sounds like Faraci’s not alone in his estimation on this one. I do hear that Sound of My Voice is still very good and should be seen, but I think I’ll avoid this one.

2 08 2011
Alex

This movie had virtually nothing to do with another Earth. Also, I didn’t get to mention it in my review, but while I was watching it, I too thought it was a Rabbit Hole rip off.

22 08 2011
Hugh

I think that your review is completely off base. The film is a very careful and considered meditation on grief and redemption. The “another earth” angle is completely secondary from a plot perspective, and is intended as more of a thought experiment to get the audience thinking in a way that they would be receptive to the deeper treatment of the human heart.

Imagine if you would, the film completely stripped of any of the second earth content. Promising senior drives home drunk from a party and kills a man’s wife, son, and unborn child. After being released at 21 from juvenile detention, she gets a job as a janitor at her former school, because the experience has stripped her of all her ambitions. Eventually looking up her victim, she approaches him to make amends, but chickens out. Posing as a cleaning lady, she makes his life better while covertly atoning for her actions. Eventually they develop a relationship, but she has to reveal her identity.

I ask you, why would you go to see this film? How would you market it? Why would it not languish in theaters or on the film festival circuit without the hook of the second earth concept? I think that the edited version of this film would be excellent and worth my time in the cinema, furthermore, I feel that the additional material enhanced the core film, and did not feel tacked on.

If you want a film about parallel universes, great, write it, direct it, produce it…but make sure that at its core is 1/2 as well considered as this film and you’ll have something.

22 08 2011
Marshall

I saw this film at a press screening – it was offered to me for free and I took it. I would market it like a domestic drama, not a science-fiction movie. You wouldn’t market “The Social Network” as a comedy just because the elements are there but secondary to the drama. You wouldn’t market “Harry Potter” as a drama even though those elements are present but secondary to the action.

Yet even if I hadn’t felt the marketing disingenuously sold the movie as a sci-fi flick, I still would have given this a C or a C- because the drama at its core was just plain awful. Maybe you found it emotionally moving, but you can’t deny its contrived and very been there, done that. Just throwing in a parallel universe on the side doesn’t change that fact.

14 12 2011
pgtipsonfilms

I haven’t seen ‘Rabbit Hole’ so I can’t comment on that, but otherwise this is a decent review. Have a read at my review,

http://pgtipsonfilms.com/2011/12/14/review-another-earth/

What do you think?

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