Another Indie Struggle
Happiness turns to misery when having been celebrating getting accepted into MIT on the day a planet which is a mirror of Earth is discovered, Rhoda Williams ends ups accidentally running over and killing the pregnant wife of composer John Burroughs. It leads to a prison sentence for Rhoda who when she is released ends up back at her parents, depressed and only able to find work as a janitor. Whilst having entered a contest to win a trip to Earth 2, as the mirror planet is known, Rhoda plans to visit John and apologise for ruining his life only to lose her nerve at the last minute. Yet she finds herself falling for John and he for her which makes life all the more complicated for her.
I wonder how long writer and director Mike Cahill worked on "Another Earth" from the moment the seeds of an idea manifested themselves through the raising of funds to completion. I imagine no matter how long it was he poured himself into the look, the writing, the ideas and also the style. I say that because "Another Earth" has that feel of a passion project but one where the driving force behind it might have struggled to get the funding needed and so filmed it in an independent way, calling in favours from friends and family to use their homes and also to appear in it. Look, basically "Another Earth" has a distinct feel of being low budget and whilst some might like that lack of polish and finesse for others, myself included, it could well make this hard going.
The thing is, and frankly what makes "Another Earth" a difficult movie to review without spoiling things, that this is a movie with an idea which only really appears towards the end of the movie. As such for a lot of the movie we watch Rhoda becoming close to John who when she sees him at the site of the accident and at his home has become withdrawn and depressed. But of course she feels guilt as to what she did and that he doesn't know she was the driver of the car which killed his wife. Yes there are some scenes which occasionally look at making contact with "Earth 2" but it doesn't grip you by the ramifications of what it is suggesting or by the relationship which is forming.
What this all boils down to is that "Another Earth" is a movie with some ideas and the deeper ones are interesting. But sadly the rest of the movie in particular the styling makes it a hard movie to become engrossed in.