Greetings again from the darkness. An award winning film at Sundance, this one seems to carry the same polarizing effect that "Tree of Life" does. The reviews and comments have been discordant and contentious. After sitting through a Q&A with Mike Cahill (co-writer, director) and Brit Marling (co-writer, star) I am guessing they are taking great pride in the love/hate responses. Their film was designed to take you deep ... make you think and self-analyze. This is not a fluffy Owen Wilson rom-com. Explaining what it is, well, that's a challenge.
The story begins with Rhoda (Brit Marling) out for a night of partying. We learn she has been accepted to M.I.T. and that she is quite the space and astronomy lover. Her very poor decision to drive home after drinking results in a horrific accident that changes her life and that of a young family. At the same time, scientists discover "another Earth" has been hiding on the other side of the sun. Flash forward four years as Rhoda is released from prison.
She is a broken spirit whose bright future has been dashed. She tracks down the man who survived the crash she caused and has every intention of apologizing. Instead, she cleans his house. She finds John (William Mapother) has dropped out of society and found numbness in the bottle.
I won't say more about the story because it is really something to watch unfold. What I will say is that I found the advertisements to be somewhat misleading. This is not a sci-fi film per se. Sure the second earth brings about numerous questions concerning the "other" us. What would we say? How would we react? Have I done better there than here? But that is actually an underlying element to this story ... always present in our thoughts and those of Rhoda. Instead, this film is a psychological drama. And a dark one at that.
You will recognize William Mapother (The Grudge, Lost), who plays John. He has a regular guy look to him and stretches well from happiness to depression to, once again, showing a spark. Brit Marling is one you don't know, but will soon enough. She is an amazing presence on screen and avoids the Hollywood acting crutches. She plays Rhoda as the damaged, confused creature she is in the story. Very well done.
A couple of other interesting notes include Kumar Pallana (The Royal Tenenbaums)as Purdeep. With minimal screen time, his character provides Rhoda with a lesson she needs. There is also a scene where John plays a saw as a musical instrument. The sound is amazing and the music is actually from Natalia Paruz, who is knows as the "saw lady". Other music in the film is outstanding and courtesy of Fall on Your Sword. Very unique, but a perfect fit for the film.
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
Seventeen year-old Rhoda Williams receives an acceptance letter from MIT and she celebrates with her friends. On the same night, a planet similar and close to Earth is discovered and called Earth 2. Rhoda drives her car looking at Earth 2 and crashes with composer John Burroughs, killing his pregnant wife and his baby son. Rhoda goes to prison and four years later she is released and moves to her parents' house. She finds a job as high-school janitor, but tries to commit suicide. She survives, however, and submits an essay to a contest where the prize is a ticket to travel to Earth 2. Meanwhile the scientists discover that Earth 2 is a mirror of Earth and the synchronicity between the dwellers was interrupted when the planets were seen by each other. One day, Rhoda decides to visit John Burroughs, whose life was destroyed after the death of his family, to admit to him that she had killed his family. However she does not have the nerve to tell him the truth. So she lies and tells him he has won a free cleaning service of his home. Rhoda wins the writing contest, but meanwhile John and she have fallen in love with each other. Rhoda has to take a decision whether she goes or stays, but she wants to tell John the truth first.
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November 1, 2011 at 10:29 am