Dave's Rating:

2.5

More drab "fi" than dreamy "sci"

Who's In It: Brit Marling, William Mapother

The Basics: Let's say you're an extremely attractive young female MIT student on your way to a science career that's going to make everyone's life better. In addition to driving buzzed and accidentally killing the spouse and children of another motorist along the way, you can add the following activities to your "not-to-do" list of life choices: getting out of prison and becoming the local high school's sexy janitor as a way to drop out and atone for your sins; showing up at the grieving widower's front door to apologize for how you killed his whole family; chickening out of the apology; pretending to be from a cleaning service (you were a minor when you drunk-killed his family so your identity is a mystery to him) and scrubbing his toilets while you figure out how to deliver the apology; having sex with him for no apparent reason beyond the fact that you're a thoughtless--yet still super hot--human being who wants him to hurt even harder when he eventually discovers your identity. Got it? Don't do any of that stuff.

What's The Deal: There's also a sci-fi element to this movie. In fact, you go into it thinking that the whole "another earth" part is what it's going to be about. It's not. It's about these two people and how they learn to love one another even though one of them secretly annihilated the other's pregnant wife and child. But the fact that there's another earth here--one full of amazing qualities, namely the exact duplication of every man, woman and child on our earth, doppelgangers whose destinies might not follow the same tragedy trajectories--is mostly a back-burner story, one that's used by the characters for convenience's sake, rather than it using them and leading everybody into a brave new world.

Guilty of The Following Indie-isms: Stammering dialogue, gray everything, trying yet failing to plain-down a lead actor whose fallback career could have been supermodeling, ripping off bits and pieces of Hal Hartley's 1992 film Trust (the one where the late Adrienne Shelley (Waitress) is a penitent housekeeper who falls for a similarly weird guy), intentional ambiguity at the last minute.

What Is A Brit Marling? She's a newcomer writer-actor-producer whose other project, the forthcoming Sound Of My Voice, was, just like this movie, a big deal at Sundance. She wisely decided to use what she has--those big-movie-star-in-the-making good looks--to get in front of and behind the camera on the ground floor, rather than succumb to the terrible Hollywood meat-grinder that uses women while they're young, then Logan's Runs them out of town when they crossover into first-wrinkle territory. Her script is a cool Twilight Zone premise that needs more spacey weirdness than emo fakery, but her chilly sadness holds you every time she's on screen.

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