Another Earth is the story of a promising young lady whose life goes to hell after a tragic accident. But wait a minute, its also about the mysterious appearance of a planet seemingly identical to our own, which appears closer and closer to this planet as time goes by. And these two seemingly unrelated storylines blend into each other beautifully.
The story of Rhoda is both heartbreaking and surprisingly hopeful, and it works so well because her struggles are so visceral. The director and actress both do an exceptional job of attaching us to her personal story and making us feel every moment of regret, pain, and joy that she has. Its actually a very intimate movie. And once it starts moving towards the storyline involving the father of the family she killed, we really start to wonder where everything will be leading.
Meanwhile, the science fiction aspect of the film is also handled in the same experiential manner. As speculation about “Earth 2” is given to us only through TV interviews and offhand comments, it is still very much a part of the movie, and the director makes sure we never forget so by including the eerie double earth image in the skyline in almost every exterior scene.
This realistic reaction of the people around Rhoda to this very bizarre phenomenon is both effective and satisfying. There is one especially haunting scene where Rhoda and her family watch a television broadcast of an attempt to make contact with “Earth 2”. Its very reminiscent of the moon landing, and in that small living room we see the wide gamut of reactions that the world population would probably have.
And although the science fiction context of this movie work incredibly well in the background, it is the intensely personal story of Rhoda and John which pulls us wholeheartedly into this film. At the heart of it all, this is a story of coping and redemption which has a very fitting conclusion, including some extra camera work at the end (when you watch it you will know what I mean).