Another Earth, solo review by Lara

18 Jul

Perhaps the best part of having a badge at SXSW is that I got to see movies I never would have otherwise. The experience that appropriately exemplifies this was the Paramount’s Secret Screening, in which the viewers show up to the theater with no idea of what they are going to see until it is announced, right before the lights go down. You can imagine my disappointment when Janet Pierson (producer of the SXSW Film Festival) announced that rather than some long-awaited, epic movie, as I was hoping for (my fingers were crossed for Cowboys & Aliens), we were going to be watching Another Earth, an indie-flick I’d never even heard of. I seriously considered walking out and hitting up my beloved SoBe Lizard Lounge, but I decided to stick it out. I figured if I wasn’t feeling the film I could always leave in the middle and enjoy a lovely, Lifewater beverage later. Thank God I saw it through, because that “indie-flick” turned out to be one of the most thought-provoking and beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. One of those movies I just want to tell everyone about. So let me tell you about it.

Written by Mike Cahill and Brit Marling, and starring Marling, the film follows Rhoda Williams, a young woman who is trying to do her best to redeem herself after killing a mother and son in a car accident when she was in high school. At the same time, a planet has been discovered near the moon and it keeps getting closer and closer. That planet is Earth 2, a duplicate of Earth in every way, down to its inhabitants. Hoping to get a chance to meet her Other Self, unmarred from her past mistakes, Rhoda enters an essay contest to win a ride on a space shuttle to visit Earth 2.

The epitome of the word “independent,” Another Earth was made on a measly $150000 budget, yet is wholly grandiose in its story and visuals. It is very apparent that co-writer and director, Mike Cahill, has a background in documentary filming, for he focuses on minute details and makes even shots with CGI feel utterly genuine and beautiful. Of course, having Brit Marling as the main subject, beauty is not a difficult thing to come by. She is graceful and masterly, and totally keeps up with the brilliant William Mapother, who plays the widower her accident left behind.

Like the best science-fiction films from the past five years (i.e. Moon, District 9), Another Earth uses science-fiction as a backdrop to enhance a story about human nature. In some ways it is about one individual woman’s second chance, but it is also about every human’s ability to start anew through replicated versions of ourselves. Science documentary-esque narrations hover over the film, calling into question the universe and our place in it. It is philosophical, yet completely personal.

(I personally think this trailer gives away WAY too much, stop at 1:40 to avoid spoilers or just watch this taste).

Ever since my unplanned discovery of Another Earth, I’ve been trying to inform everyone who will listen of its existence. It is an exquisite, compelling film. If it comes to your city this Friday, please, please do yourself a favor and visit it.

Wondering if Earth 2 me would be less of a geek,

Lara

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