Another Earth: out of this world

What if there was another Earth? Another you? What would you say? Perhaps, “Better luck next time.”

Another Earth parallels the internal and external conflict of an identity crisis as an ex-convict (Brit Marling) begins anew, trying to string back together the disseminated pieces of her past, while subconsciously searching for living proof of her being currently lost in the unknown. She has been released from prison four years after she killed a son and his mother in a car crash while drunk driving.

Simultaneously, society has traced another Earth. The watermark seems to suggest “there could be another you out there.” If so, “have they made the same mistakes you’ve made?”

The better question: Is this film truly a story about a girl who wins tickets to fly to Earth II, or is it a story about a lost individual, who begins a journey to reach a peaceful mindset; a routine life where she can try to forgive herself for what she has done?

After fabricating a story about a free cleaning trial for local consumers’ homes, Rhoda initiates a relationship with the husband and father of the deceased, an emeritus Yale professor William Mapother (John Burroughs). As the two begin to interact more each day, it is evident that each is also beginning to pull the other out of the dark.

Once, while her new acquaintance deals with a headache, Rhoda shares a story about the first astronaut in space, Yuri Gagarin ( During his space odyssey, Gagarin heard a persistent and exacerbating sound, which continued to pound into his ears day by day. Just before he decided he couldn’t take it any longer, Gagarin closed his eyes and shut his mind. He envisioned a symphony to accompany the dissonant sound. He spent the next 25 days journeying in pure bliss and serenity. The allusion works to underscore the inherent conflict of the film: finding peace.

Another Earth is a story about forgiveness. It is a story that follows a girl who so desperately desires to bring happiness to a man who shares the same past that still plagues her each day.

After a transient falling-out, Mapother takes her to an auditorium to enlighten her with the sound of music. As he strokes a saw with a bow (, an opera-type voice emanates from the jagged edges. Rhoda closes her eyes, and clears her mind. The only thing holding her back is the truth. When she receives her Earth II tickets in the mail, it is clear that she must conclude the wistful romance that has sprung about from the abyss of sorrow and regret.

Of course, he won’t see her when he faces the truth. How can she ever give him back what she took away? However, she can. She can send him to another Earth, aptly four years behind.

By leaving the ticket for him to pursue, she moves past her straddling on the edge of earth. She redeems herself through her veracity and attains a sort of forgiveness as she vicariously experiences Mapother’s happiness into the unknown.

But the big question is really, why then, if she sacrifices her own ticket, does she meet herself at the culmination? Perhaps, she has finally found herself. Maybe this isn’t a story about literally finding yourself on another material planet. Maybe it’s a confirmation that when you finally relinquish everything holding you back—past struggles, an unsettled state of mind, external conflicts—you can finally see yourself for who you truly are: you.

Rating: 8.1/10