This is science fiction at its best–not muddled with robots or aliens–but rooted in humanity. With a unique angle and wonderful performances, Another Earth propels itself past the typical (it has a familiar core) and becomes extraordinary. It is a quiet, simple narrative with an unexpected science fiction twist, that will move you.
Writer/Director Mike Cahill has an photographer’s eye. Many of the shots are beautifully captured–with little details highlighted–and he has an easy style. But the revelation here–the discovery, is Brit Marling, who not only shines as the lead, but also co-wrote the screenplay. Very impressive! Marling is a natural and draws you in, close to her character and her raw emotions. Opposite of her is William Mapother, who is a great actor and shines in his role.
I usually roll my eyes at the end of most indie films–you know the ones, the artists that use ambiguity to prove they’re so creative and clever–when most of time it comes across as lazy and a cop-out–but I loved Another Earth’s ending. Some may find it too ambiguous, but this time I thought it was right. I think it is up to the viewer to interpret what it means. You will understand when you watch it. And watch it you must, especially if you want to experience something atypical and lovely.
It has easily landed in my Top 10 list of 2011.