Another Earth

Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) is a high school student who has been recently accepted to MIT. She celebrates with friends and drives home intoxicated. Listening to a story about an approaching planet that looks just like Earth on the radio, she looks out her car window up to the stars and inadvertly slams her car through a stopped car at an intersection, killing John Burroughs’s (William Mapother) wife and son. Rhoda is a minor, so her identity is not revealed to John. After serving her sentence, Rhonda chooses to not go to MIT, but become a janitor at a local school, wanting to physically clean things with her hands, but not do too much thinking.

After cleaning a school for a while and hearing more news stories about the approaching mirror Earth, Rhoda visits John’s house, thinking she will apologize for the harm she did to him. He answers the door and she loses her nerve. Instead, she pretends to be a maid offering a free day of cleaning as a marketing tool for Maid’n Haven (a New Haven based maid service) to gain more business. John, who has nearly dropped out of his Yale music faculty position and is now living in a depressed and dirty stupor, agrees Rhoda’s offer. When she finishes, John, who still does not know she is the person who killed his wife and son, asks her to come back next week. Rhoda tells him someone will come, but it may not be her.

Rhoda returns to clean and develops a caring relationship with John that eventually becomes more significant and romantic. They genuinely like each other and are both intelligent and good at conversing. He is a lonely man seeking the first companion to come across his radar and Rhoda genuinely wants to be of service to him.

Rhoda enters an essay contest sponsored by a millionaire entrepreneur who is offering a civilian space flight to the other nearby Earth. Rhoda’s essay is selected and she is chosen to be one of the first explorers to travel to the other Earth.

Rhoda tells John she has won the space flight, but he asks her not to go. However, when she tells him that she was the one who killed his wife and son, he forces her out of his house.

Rhoda hears in a telecast that the citizens of the mirror Earth identical to those in this planet in every way until the moment they learned of the other’s existence. From that point on, the identical people on the planets probably began to deviate in small ways, changing their actions. Rhoda hopes her identical self on the other Earth does not make the mistakes she made on the night of the accident.

Rhoda returns to John and gives him the ticket to the other Earth, telling him enough information to give him a small hope that his wife and son might be alive on that planet. John accepts the gift and becomes one of the first civilian space travelers to the other Earth.

Months later, Rhonda approaches her back door and sees her identical self from the other Earth standing in front of her.

Another Earth had its world premiere at the 27th Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. It was released in dramatic competition. Variety reported, “[It] has been deemed one of the more highly praised pics of the fest as it received a standing ovation after the screening and strong word of mouth from buyers and festgoers.” The distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures won distribution rights to the film in a deal worth $1.5 million to $2 million, beating out other distributors including Focus Features and The Weinstein Company.

Fox Searchlight is the distributor of Another Earth in the United States, Canada, and other English-speaking territories. The film had a limited release in the United States and Canada on July 22, 2011, expanding to a wide release in ensuing months.

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One Response to Another Earth

  1. Michelle says:

    You can hear music from the movie ‘Another Earth’ (the musical saw scene) on the composer’s website: http://www.scottmunsonmusic.com/news/music-in-film-another-earth-soundtrack/

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