Pros: some good character drama – concept is interesting for about 5 minutes
Cons: plot is a disappointment and concept goes nowhere
I went for Another Earth because it’s an an indie Sci Fi film and it’s gotten some good reactions online. It’s no Hollywood space-war flick (that’s for sure) but rather a brooding drama about a young woman whose drunken driving causes a terrible accident. She drives off the road and into an unlucky family’s lives because she’s staring out her car window at what has just appeared in the sky overheard: a planet resembling our own Earth in every way.
Reviewers say that the film is about a young woman dreaming of a new life on another world, but that’s not really accurate. You see, the premise has another twist. This planet that’s appeared in our sky isn’t just another “Class-M” orb that can support life. It’s not just like Earth. It is Earth. It’s the same size, it has the same continents in the same orientation, and advanced telescopes quickly determine that it has identically sized cities in all the same locations as ours.
Commence the character drama. The young woman, convicted of felony drunken driving, spends several years in prison. And upon her release seeks out the only other survivor of the accident: the father, who is now left alone recovering from a head injury and the devastating loss of his loved ones.
If this sounds like a hell of a setup, it is. The only problem is, there’s nothing more. Nothing interesting happens for the rest of this movie. In your mind you’re already wondering if a certain sticky thing will happen between these two characters. Well, I’m sorry to say that the film has no surprises for you. I’ve decided not to spoil everything, but let’s just say there’s not much to spoil because you’ll see every plot turn coming from a mile away.
There are some basic problems with the Sci Fi premise here that do not pass the “stupid test” for me. The Earth 2 planet appears larger and larger in the sky throughout the film, eventually dwarfing the moon. How does such a gravitational body in such proximity not play havoc with our tides? It’s not explained. How exactly does this orb move into our solar system and find its way to our Earth without hitting anything else on the way? What’s steering this unlikely path? No one in the film even wonders these things. They all become obsessed with the idea of their own mirror counterpart selves, up there on that orb. Eventually the other planet is contacted, but does anyone ask them: “How did you survive a journey through interstellar space without freezing?” Nope. And it’s too bad.
This film is ultimately in the fantasy category for me. Just because an object comes from space doesn’t mean it’s a science fiction movie. True Sci Fi deals with plausible advances in science, not total departures from its laws. When you know and accept that you’re dealing with something that will never happen, that’s fantasy. And that’s what we have here.
I’ll bet there are reviewers out there talking about the striking ending of this film. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s sad, and laughable. It’s so sad it’s laughable, and it’s sad that it’s so laughable. The final plot twist puts the characters in such yucky and awkward situations that it mocks all the genuine drama they experienced in the story.
I found it downright gross. And my wife did too, apparently, because she made a face and hit me with a pillow when I turned to her as the credits rolled and asked “Honey, would it turn you on if there were two of me here right now?”