Another Earth

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Another Earth Movie Poster Image
Downbeat indie drama with sci-fi angle has mature themes.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The main character spends her time trying to figure out how to move on from a terrible accident, dealing with guilt and hopelessness, as well as small moments of hope. She finds her best chance through compassion and selflessness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rhoda makes a huge mistake -- drunk driving and killing a mother and child -- for which she cannot forgive herself; she spends four years in prison as well. For these reasons, she can't be considered a great role model, even though she works to make a positive new life for herself. She alternates between small moments of hope and big moments of hopelessness, but she does begin to find that compassion and selflessness have their rewards.

Violence

The movie begins with a terrible car crash with blood and dead bodies (including the body of a young boy). The main character tries to kill herself. Some shouting and arguing, and, in one scene, a man briefly tries to choke a woman. A secondary character is seen in the hospital, the result of having poured bleach in his ears.

Sex

The main characters have sex, but no nudity is shown. Brief kissing between minor characters. The main character appears semi-nude when she tries to commit suicide, but only her rear end is really visible.

Language

"My God" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism

The main character does a Google search and almost buys a package of Gummi Bears.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character gets into a serious drunk driving accident, though she's not shown to have a drinking problem. She drinks wine later in the film. The movie begins at a party, with brief flashes of teens drinking (and possibly doing drugs). Another major character seems to be drunk much of the time, though he's not seen drinking; viewers see half-empty bottles around his house. A teen boy mentions "getting high."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this downbeat, low-budget indie drama (with sci-fi undertones) revolves around a severe drunk-driving accident and the two survivors' ensuing attempts to get through life. There's some teen drinking, as well as sporadic drinking throughout and mentions/brief images of drugs. The central car crash has some graphic images, with blood and dead bodies (including the body of a little boy); viewers can also expect threats, yelling, a suicide attempt, and a brief attempted choking. There's one sex scene (no nudity), and one scene in which the main character lies naked in the snow (only her rear end is shown).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 year old Written byssaustin1999 February 19, 2012

2.5 stars? Better for Adults

I would caution parents that this film is really for adults or mature teenagers. Although the film does serve as a strong caution against drunk driving,the grue... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHaitham Bayazeed April 28, 2013

One of a Kind

Great movie with amazing special effects, a great romance with a very creative background to an interesting movie.
Kid, 11 years old July 28, 2012

15

Contains sexual intercoarse, scenes of strangling and upsetting scenes

What's the story?

After celebrating her acceptance into MIT, Rhoda (Brit Marling) is driving home, drunk, when she hears on the radio news of a new planet; it has an atmosphere and water and continents and is visible to the naked eye. While peering into the night sky, she crashes into a stopped car, killing a mother and son and sending the father into a coma. Four years later, Rhoda gets out of jail and decides to visit the man, composer John Burroughs (William Mapother), to apologize. At the last second, she loses her courage and tells a lie about working for a cleaning company. They slowly get to know each other and bring hope back into each other's lives. But what happens when the truth comes out, and what's the secret behind the other earth?

Is it any good?

Marling and director Mike Cahill teamed up to write this screenplay, cleverly weaving a science-fiction element -- the concept of an alternate earth -- into the drama. That idea works beautifully, and it adds new layers of questions about who we are, our destiny, etc. This is most welcome, since the movie's main plot is pretty creaky. Like the laziest of Hollywood romantic comedies, it's based on the stretching of a lie. (Rhoda must convince John that she's just a cleaning lady rather than the driver who killed his family.)

Overall, the film's genuinely touching side overpowers the hackneyed stuff. Aside from the lofty, thoughtful subtext surrounding the drama, Cahill and Marling zoom in for a nicely focused set of characters and performances. Marling is in nearly every shot, and she's magnetic, conveying a lifetime's worth of hurt and beauty. Likewise, Kumar Pallana -- best known for his supporting roles in Wes Anderson's films -- provides some small, lovely, thoughtful moments. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violent scenes. How does their impact compare to what you see in bigger sci-fi/action movies? What is the purpose of the graphic scenes in this movie?

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  • What would it mean to visit an alternate earth? Would you want to meet yourself? Are there any decisions you'd change if you could?

  • How does the movie portray drinking and its consequences?

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Movie details

For kids who love offbeat movies

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