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Film: Another Earth

Another Earth is a 2011 independent Science Fiction film directed by Mike Cahill and written by Cahill and leading actress Brit Marling. It was distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. It is about the discovery of a duplicate of planet Earth and its effects on the lives of two people.

Rhoda Williams is a young woman who has just been accepted in MIT. She has a great future ahead of her, but after celebrating by drinking, she has a car accident when she is distracted by the sight of a planet in the sky that resembles Earth. The struck car belongs to a composer named John Burroughs, and his wife and children die in the crash. He himself is left in a coma.

The vision in the sky isn't an illusion; somehow, a duplicate of Earth, with the same people as well, has appeared near our planet, leading to worldwide shock and interest. But the story focuses on Rhoda's and John's lives. Rhoda spends four years in prison for drunken driving, ruining her life. John recovers but falls into despair. Wracked with guilt, Rhoda finds John, but doesn't tell him who she is. Slowly, they start bonding.

A further twist comes in the way of a contest to earn passage in a spaceship that will visit the Other Earth.

Tropes in Another Earth:

  • Ambiguous Clone Ending: Sort of. Just before the movie ends, we see Rhoda meeting herself. They don't say a word before the credits roll, so the details of whose Earth we're on, the differences between their lives, and what's happened in the 4 months since the launch are not specified. However, it seems likely that Rhoda's theory was right - Rhoda 2 never hit John 2's family, so there was nothing holding her back from coming to Earth 1 and meeting Rhoda 1.
  • Artistic License: The film deliberately invokes this in both astronomy and physics. Many scifi fans have complained that the film pushes their Willing Suspension of Disbelief a little too far, however keep in mind that this movie is a drama about grief and not about people running around in terror as the Earth is endangerednote .
    • Among other things:
      • The other Earth is always portrayed as "full" in the sky during the day (the way the Moon is full). It would have to stay on the night side of Earth to do that unless it was only being viewed at sunrise and sunset.
      • A second planet of Earth-size in our very balanced the solar system really would throw all the other orbits in the inner solar system off.
      • Even if the planet had been hiding behind the sun the whole time before it appeared we would have already been able to infer it from its affect on the other orbits in the inner solar system.
      • If a planet that close were coming that close to Earth people would be more worried about a collision.
      • Ocean tides here on Earth are the result of the moon pulling on the Earth. Another Earth so close as to be bigger than the moon in the sky would send ocean tides over huge swaths of populated land.
      • And if it's that close, our own moon would have crashed into it.
      • Before the radio communication, no one on "our" Earth seemed to have taken notice of (presumably) cities in the same place, for example. That would have tipped onto the almost exact similarity of the two worlds.
  • The Atoner: Rhoda.
  • At the Crossroads: What to do with the ticket.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Rhoda passes one, complete with sandwich board and tinfoil hat.
  • Convenient Coma: So John can't recognize his family's killer.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: The other earth, right out there in the sky.
  • Counter-Earth: Sort of.
  • Dawson Casting: Brit Marling was 28, but played 21-year old Rhoda (as well as at 17, briefly).
  • Death by Origin Story: John's family.
  • Fan Disservice: Rhoda taking her clothes off in the middle of winter, trying to commit suicide by freezing to death while naked.
  • Heroic BSOD: John has one when Rhoda reveals that she was the one that killed his family.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Inverted.
  • May-December Romance
  • Point of View: Lampshaded in-universe.
    John: You think they call us "Earth One"?
  • The Reveal: Rhoda's counterpart had a successful life.
  • Self Harm: We learn Purdeep had blinded himself and during the movie deafened himself.
  • Twist Ending
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out what the tapping noise was in Rhoda's cosmonaut story.

And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird!Science Fiction FilmsBicentennial Man
AnonymousFilms of the 2010sApollo 18

alternative title(s): Another Earth
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