July 9th, 2012 19:02 EST
MOVIE REVIEW: ANOTHER EARTH
MY RATING: * * * (out of * * * *)
BRIEF SYNOPSIS (spoiler free): A woman accidentally destroys a man`s world, and then insinuates herself in his new world under false pretenses to make amends by striving to make his life better. She salvages her life by trying to salvage his.
Oh, and there`s another Earth in the sky. But nevermind that.
PROS: My favorite thing about this movie is the main female protagonist, and what actor Brit Marling does with the role. William Mapother certainly does not suck here, but Marling particularly shines and steals the show-- for me, anyway. The two main characters and actors are-- eventually-- quite interesting and endearing... individually, and especially together. Which is good, since they are the center piece of the story.
I also love how, when they settle into their quirky friendship, she gets so caught up in the ruse that it becomes real and genuine. He and she have some great philosophical conversations, and fit well together.
Once the movie manages to finally establish the foundation and premise, and lets the two main characters come to life, the narrative becomes fantastic.
There is a stunning, breathtaking solo musical performance.
I liked the surprise twist ending. Samurai say that the end is important in all things. How we go out matters as much as how we`ve lived until then. And the movie ends remarkably well, after a life fairly well lived. Any impression of the story being mundane is only superficial, given the wonderful characters, and reading between the lines.
Another Earth demonstrates the merit and legitimacy of `two people in a room` talking is not boring. Many excellent philosophical moments.
I like when sci-fi elements are subtle or minimalist...
CONS: ...but the title and trailer led me to believe and expect the story would revolve around Another Earth. Which does not hurt the movie, but I wanted to see more of how that affects the world. The presence of a parallel Earth in the sky is a superfluous and peripheral plot device. Instead of being driven by a focus on our duplicates, it offers a relationship developing between two characters, virtually unrelated to the arrival of another Earth.
I would like to have seen her have more of a developed life. For example, she comments that she reads, but there are no books in her room. Indeed, her room is absent of any signs of personality. Maybe that sense of emptiness was the point, considering what she went through. If so, I retract my complaint.
Story and the two main characters wait until halfway through the movie to get really interesting. Too much time spent on setting up the narrative, feels like wasted time. There was very little public reaction or contemplation of the other Earth. Everyone just goes on with their life; no examination of how such a profound thing would affect daily lives. Or maybe that was a point it meant to make.
Although there was some philosophical and social commentary, I was anticipating hoping for more, given the nature of the story. My biggest disappointment is that this movie could have been used to make a more definitive statement or observation about who we are, or people on the edge of society, or redemption. Maybe engage in some kind of introspective or scientific exploration regarding the subject matter.
RECOMMENDATION: When I first watched, I was not very impressed. I didn`t hate it, it wasn`t terrible. But I did not classify it as Must See. Then I found this movie lingering in my thoughts. And the more I thought about it, the more my appreciation increased. So I watched it again, and it both warrants and sustains a second look. Rarely have I so underestimated a movie as much as I did this.