On seeing the trailer for “Another Earth”, directed by Mike Cahill, I was intrigued by the unusual plot: Rhoda Williams, a young girl on the verge of attending MIT, makes a terrible mistake and, in a night of drunk driving, kills a mother and child. Rhoda is offered a chance to escape from her mistake by winning a ticket to be on the first voyage to Another Earth, a planet identical to ours. But in doing so she must literally face herself, as this second Earth is a mirror of our world, so much so that even the people inhabiting the planet are mirror images of ourselves. I found the concept intriguing and imagined that the movie would be full of psychological struggles and ideas.
While the movie itself was interesting, I was disappointed to find that Rhoda never actually confronts her identical self onscreen, eliminating much of the psychological drama I’d been looking forward to. There’s still plenty of angst and agony as Rhoda kindles a relationship with John Burroughs, the man whose family she has killed in the car accident. In hiding her true identity and history from John, Rhoda launches herself into a series of events which sends her world spinning out of control.
Part wildly science fiction, part all too-true reality, “Another Earth” touches on the darker aspects of today’s society: irresponsibility, morality, the tragedy of life, and how everything one has to live for can be taken in a second. Although it tackles such issues head-on, the movie leaves to the imagination the idea of what would happen if we were forced to confront ourselves. What would we learn? What would terrify or shame us? It’s an interesting idea.
Slow-moving at times, and with an unsatisfying ending, “Another Earth” could have been more provocative and more interesting if the movie had actually gone to that second planet. Although still a good movie, it was hard to overcome the expectations created by a misleading trailer.