So a nice and easy review to write…
I want to really like Another Earth, it has a lot of the elements I like, the principle one being that its a science fiction piece without being “science fiction”.
Entirely from one person’s perspective we see a world changing event when a replica Earth appears in the sky above. We don’t see nations in discussion, or politicians or bigwigs or military, we see how this affects Rhona, one girl in the world.
On the night this “other Earth” appears, she loses control of her car and crashes into the car of a man and his family. His wife and son are killed instantly, while he is put into a coma for four years. Rhona is imprisoned for those four years, and we see her after her release trying to deal with her guilt and find forgiveness.
This is not your typical science fiction; it has a gentle pace and slow direction allowing for scenes and moods to seep in, characters are lost in thought more than speaking openly. We see Rhona’s relationship with the man, John, develop as she continuously postpones telling him that she caused the accident, this makes up the bulk of the film.
Unfortunately… there are some bumps in the road that I couldn’t believe. The one that particularly killed the film’s immersion for me was Rhona’s sudden relationship with John… She killed his entire family, he lives as a drunken recluse, his career as a popular composer was destroyed, he told her he had to be restrained from looking for the culprit in case of what he might do. Yes, jumping into bed with him is the perfectly human thing to do.
(There are other things, like how we would happily send any one up into space to make first contact, make websites so anyone can apply. In fact being socially weird or even a convict would be a positive boon! I… don’t think that would happen.)
You could read into it more, how Rhona isn’t a perfect being and that no one is, and that the driving force behind the film is the reflective nature we can have. The “other Earth” inspires people to imagine if the same choices and mistakes were made there as they were here, and if you were to talk to yourself would you forgive yourself?
This inner concept is very interesting, but the film chooses to let the audience decide for itself, leaving on a tantalizing ending to spark debate. Probably the best, since it gives us the viewer time to reflect and use our own perspective.
It is a head-scratcher; a film to make you think and consider yourself and the world around you. It has a few bumps in the story that definitely irked me, which risked losing me on the more subtle messages being given.
Additional Marshmallows: The most believable element in this scenario is what we call the second Earth that magically appeared before us. “Earth 2”. It is so drab and pathetically unimaginative that it would happen!