I watched five movies on a 15-hour flight from India back to the U.S. this past summer and still find myself thinking about one film in particular called Another Earth (2011). I came home remembering scenes and images from this movie and eager to talk about it, but no one had heard of it. I couldn’t find it on Netflix but eventually was able to rent it from Amazon.
Another Earth is an independent film directed by Mike Cahill and released in 2011. The screenplay written by the director and the female lead Brit Marling twines two plot lines together, one a science fiction look at the possibility of a duplicate earth appearing in the heavens above our earth and the tragic tale of a composer who loses his family in a catastrophic car accident (on the same night the other earth appears) caused by a young teen-ager, played by Brit Marling. William Mapother, a villain in the Lost series, plays the grieving and bitter widower.
This film did receive critical acclaim upon its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival but initially received only limited distribution. Perhaps the indeterminate genre of the film created faulty marketing and the delayed expansion to worldwide distribution. The genre of the film is hard to categorize because the science fictional premise is so seamlessly woven into the problematic relationship that develops between the teen-ager (four years later after she is released from prison) and the grieving composer.
The final scene is the one that I most often play over and over in my head. I’ve read the various interpretations that people have come up with, but as I watch, I find myself continuing to wonder . . .