Consequently, Another Earth is a great idea with little to say. All of the correct narrative beats are there but the actual fleshing out of those core points is amateurish, and occasionally downright embarrassing. It poses some interesting questions and hypotheticals (like “What if the experience of internal dialogue with yourself could literally become external?”), but then never answers or even explores them. Rhoda’s voiced-over philosophical musings are empty and uninspiring, and only the occasional scientist talking-head on a nearby TV or radio offers up a thought worthy of contemplation.

While the elementary script by co-writers Marling and Mike Cahill labors and strains toward something of emotional (even spiritual) import, it’s Cahill’s stylistic instincts as a director and editor that salvage the weak material to make it worthwhile, even intermittently fascinating. He may not know how to write a good story but he knows how to tell one. 

The film’s somber and pensive tone is the right one to strike, plus it’s consistently held and effectively crescendos. The result is a debut feature that reveals a raw talent. For now, Cahill lacks the depth and insight to be a good writer but shows a lot of promise as a filmmaker; hopefully future efforts (and better scripts) will help him fulfill it.

Another Earth abides in that atmosphere between Good and Bad called Interesting.  Its story and characters won’t provoke you to consider life (or our place in the universe) in a new way, but the intrigue of its fantastical premise, ambient tone and clever resolution just might.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol Content: Wine is consumed, some drunkenness; A character makes a reference to getting high; Prescription drugs are abused; A man drinks by himself at home, for the purpose of getting drunk; A teenage girl gets drunk at a party; Champagne is consumed at a party, no drunkenness.
  • Language/Profanity: Two of “God” as exclamation, but no other profanities; A radio DJ makes a few mild sexual innuendos on a couple of occasions.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity: A woman disrobes outside in the moonlight; she is briefly seen in silhouette from behind after disrobing; A man and woman kiss passionately, disrobe, and make love (no nudity is shown).
  • Violence: A violent car accident that occurs suddenly; A child and pregnant woman are killed; The driver of the other car is bloodied; Wreckage of the post-crash is seen, including the dead mother in her seat; The child is seen face-down, having been thrown from the vehicle; A woman is attacked by a man violently, choking her.