by Tim Ross
What would you do if you could meet a copy of yourself? What would you have to say to yourself? What if you had the chance to redo, undo or atone for the worst thing you’ve ever done? These are some of the questions posed by the intriguing premise of “Another Earth.”
The film opens with government officials announcing that a twin Earth has been discovered within reach of our own blue planet. Earth 2, as it’s called, may contain mirror images of every earthling.
Seventeen-year-old Rhoda (Brit Marling) isn’t contemplating such questions – she’s too busy celebrating her acceptance to an Ivy League school. The celebration turns sour, however, when Rhoda’s drunk driving leads to the death of a pregnant mother and her 5-year-old son. Rhoda serves time for the deed, emerging four years later a forlorn, withdrawn young woman.
Meanwhile, Earth 2 draws closer and when and an expedition is formed to go there, one lucky resident will win a spot on the shuttle. For Rhoda, the trip could mean redemption if she could manage to meet the family she destroyed and somehow make amends. In the mean time, Rhoda works her way into the life of the family’s surviving husband, John (William Mapother), hoping to find some way to make his days happier and perhaps hers as well.
What follows is a slow, overly-introspective tale. Questions are left unanswered and the journey to Earth 2 is somewhat of a red herring. We’re teased by it as Rhoda and John measure out loss and loneliness in long, slow passages, but the promise of the plot never comes to fruition.
It would be a bolder and better movie if the writers, director and stars actually tried to answer some of the “what ifs” they pose. It comes across more as a vehicle for the actors and less like the artistic examination of a fascinating idea. The acting is generally sharp, but that’s not enough to draw us in and compel us to take a journey that doesn’t travel very far, much less all the way across space to another Earth.
Grade: 2/4 stars