2011, Movies

Another Earth (2011, Mike Cahill)

This is a movie that, by its very title, advertises itself as science fiction. But it’s not, not really. I mean, it’s barely science fiction. It’s not science fiction in the way you expect.


Rather, this is a film about redemption and, regrettably, it follows that ridiculous movie cliche where the person who seeks redemption inserts herself into the life of her victim without his knowledge. This cliche is ridiculous because people don’t do this. And it’s a cliche because this is far from the first movie I’ve seen where this happens.

The movie handles it rather well, but we’re left wondering why the science fiction angle? And the answer to that question is because the writers appear to have been unable to come up with another way to suggest that both protagonists wish for a second chance. That would be obvious in most stories like this, but I guess they didn’t trust their audience, or they liked their conceit too much.

So it’s a cliched redemption drama with an unnecessary sci-fi angle, but I didn’t hate it because of the understated nature of the performances – no histrionics here – and because of the deliberate pacing.

I also wonder what moral universe these people live in – where doing something like this is okay.


  • Directed by Mike Cahill
  • Produced by Hunter Gray, Mike Cahill, Brit Marling, Nicholas Shumaker
  • Written by Mike Cahill, Brit Marling
  • Starring:
    • Brit Marling as Rhoda Williams
    • William Mapother as John Burroughs
    • Jordan Baker as Kim Williams
    • Robin Lord Taylor as Jeff Williams
    • Flint Beverage as Robert Williams
    • Kumar Pallana as Purdeep
    • Diane Ciesla as Dr. Joan Tallis
    • Rupert Reid as Keith Harding
    • Richard Berendzen as himself (narrator)
  • Music by Fall On Your Sword
  • Cinematography Mike Cahill
  • Edited by Mike Cahill
  • Production company: Artists Public Domain
  • Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • Release date: January 24, 2011
  • Running time: 92 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $100,000
  • Box office: $1.8 million

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