Another Earth: A Movie of Wonder
Last weekend I finally saw a movie that I’ve been itching to see for weeks. That movie was Another Earth. I’ll give the premise first to give you a chance to gtfo if you don’t want to be spoiled. So imagine that you are living your life normally, this same Earth, your life right now. Then out the blue (and into the black), another planet Earth is discovered in space, within a humanly reachable distance. This Earth 2, is a carbon copy (as we know it) of your life here on Earth 1, you are replicated there, your person, your body. While of course, implications arise: is this is other me actually ME, do we lead the same life, what would happen if I could go talk to myself?
Rhoda (Brit Marling, who also co-wrote the film) was a 17-year old girl, driving home from a party when she found out about Earth 2. She is so captivated by this blue dot in the sky, and distracted by alcohol, she crashes in a family’s car and tragedy strikes. After serving four years in prison, Rhoda is released back into a society that is still coming to terms with Earth 2 as there has been no contact. She requests a job from the job agency where she can do something with her hands even though her advisor protests that she could do so much with her mind. But for Rhoda, her mind is what got her into her situation. Her mind got her to MIT and lead to eminent celebrations, ultimately resulting in the accident. And perhaps, working with her hands, cleaning and cleansing could keep her mind off of what she had done. But one day She sets out to tell the surviving husband and father of the crash, John that she was the one responsible. Just as she’s about to tell him, she falters. Instead she becomes his friend, cleaning his house and being his caregiver in his still broken state. At first, there is much of nothing between them. Hardly any dialogue is exchanged, as John projects an intimidating, rough exterior, and Rhoda does not do much more than look meek and shameful. As the movie progresses however, we begin to see these characters form. Predictably, they fall in love, and then Rhoda finds out that she’s won a ticket to Earth 2 in an essay contest. She won’t let herself go without telling John the truth. As he is obviously angered, their relationship abruptly ends.
Rhoda then hears of a theory that may change everything; that your other self could be living a completely different life because the moment the Earths found out about each other, the synchronicity was broken. And there’s where I’m going to stop. I don’t want to spoil everything for you as there a couple twists at the end, one that didn’t really surprise me and one that did.
Throughout the film, strong metaphors moved me…the story of the of the Russian cosmonaut stuck in space, who at first was tortured by an annoying sound but found peace by in falling in love with the noise he hated so much (like John and Rhoda’s relationship); and the tale of Rhoda’s fellow janitor, who blinded himself because he couldn’t live with what he had done. Rhoda herself tries to numb the pain of her reality when she decides to lay naked in the snow, beneath the stars and the other blue planet that questions her guilt-ridden existence. And the biggest metaphor of all is Earth 2 itself. As a speaker on TV rambles on, (actually a renowned astrophysicist) suggesting that yes, this parallel Earth contains another you and wouldn’t be just crazy and fantastic to sit down and see if you could have a conversation with yourself? But what he brings up is that we already do that, everyday. Everyday we are in constant conversation with our self, one part of you takes an action, the other questions it, and yet another evaluates it after it is complete. Earth 2 for Rhoda is herself, when she looks in the mirror, when she looks into John’s eyes. The internal struggles Rhoda faces are externalized onto Earth 2, where what-ifs and do-overs are possible.
I literally will go on forever about the scenes in this movie so I have to stop myself from completely ruining it for you. Each scene to me was so beautifully crafted and thought out, yet remained minimal and exuded effortlessness, of the actors and the direction in the scene. Near the beginning of the movie, there is almost 20 minutes without dialogue, with just the Rhoda’s demeanor, the scenery, and the music to occupy your consciousness; I didn’t mind. Speaking of the music, (I promise I’ll be brief) Fall on Your Sword did the whole score, which will be their debut album. The music was so amazing; epic, looming, cryptic, unusual, and a mixture between electronic and classical compositions. So good that I actually bought the album, which hasn’t happened since…to be honest, I can’t even remember. I would call this soundtrack the Tron soundtrack of indie movies, or rather; FOYS are the Daft Punk of new movie scores. It moves from space-like music, while beats and weird sounds to the most beautiful, delicate classical and orchestral music. I highly recommend that you download it or buy it. (See below for the title track). All in all, if you care about what I think, which I don’t know why you would because I run a stoner blog, I would give the movie a A- (because I never get solid A’s in school and neither should the movie, just kidding) because its wonderful, but because the predictable plot moved a little too slow and the whole not explaining the science behind the other planet kind of bugged me. As I exited the movie theater after this one, I did not look at our Moon the same way; thinking how crazy it would be if it was replaced by Another Earth and even, just on its own. I mean, it’s a huge, fucking rock basically, orbiting us: another huge fucking rock but with life on it. I hope this made you want to the movie, or at least think about some of the things that happened in it! Unfortunately I thing I took too long to finish this post and it might not be playing anymore, but see it when it comes on DVD!