Indie hit with science fiction premise explores complexities of flawed human interaction
Indie hit Another Earth belongs to a microscopic subgenre of love stories revolving around parallel universes; in this case, a planet hidden by the sun which is an exact mirror image of our own planet, right down to the names of the people there and the jobs that they do.
Running this science fiction premise in the background of a sombre romance, actress Brit Marling and director Mike Cahill’s script opens with Rhoda (Marling) celebrating her acceptance to MIT on the night that the Earth II planet comes into view, only to drunkenly cause a road accident which kills the wife and child of John Burroughs (William Mapother). After serving four years in jail, Rhoda takes a job as a school janitor, but finds herself drawn to the man she inadvertently widowed. Their turbulent relationship seems doomed until an unexpected chance to visit Earth II offers a potential salvation for both of them.
Despite its loopy Twilight Zone premise, similarly explored in Gerry Anderson’s Doppelgänger, aka Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, Another Earth is less interested in space travel than the minor complexities of flawed human interaction. That Mapother is Tom Cruise’s cousin only adds to the off-kilter feel and the final startling revelations offer an effective double-whammy ending.