Homework 2011 Film Planet

This article is about the film. For the album by Gary Bartz, see Another Earth (album).

Another Earth
Directed byMike Cahill
Produced by
Written byMike Cahill
Brit Marling
Music byFall On Your Sword
CinematographyMike Cahill
Edited byMike Cahill


Artists Public Domain

Distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures

Release date

  • January 24, 2011 (2011-01-24) (Sundance)
  • July 22, 2011 (2011-07-22) (United States)

Running time

92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.8 million

Another Earth is a 2011 American independentscience fiction-drama film directed by Mike Cahill. It stars Brit Marling, William Mapother, and Robin Lord Taylor. It premiered at the 27th Sundance Film Festival in January 2011, and was distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The film received generally mixed to positive reviews, and earned two nominations from the Saturn Awards for Brit Marling's performance and for Cahill and Marling's writing.


Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling), a brilliant 17-year-old girl who has spent her young life fascinated by astronomy, is delighted to learn that she has been accepted into MIT. She celebrates, drinking with friends, and in a reckless moment, drives home intoxicated. Listening to a story on the radio about a recently discovered Earth-like planet, she gazes out her car window at the stars and inadvertently hits a stopped car at an intersection, putting John Burroughs (William Mapother) in a coma and killing his pregnant wife and son. After serving her four-year prison sentence, Rhoda chooses to work with her hands and to have minimal contact with other people, becoming a janitor at her former high school.

Hearing more news stories about the mirror Earth, Rhoda enters an essay contest sponsored by a millionaire entrepreneur who is offering a civilian space flight to the mirror Earth.

One day Rhoda sees John laying flowers. She visits his house, intending to apologize. He answers the door and she loses her nerve. Instead, she pretends to be a maid offering a free day of cleaning as a marketing tool for Maid in Haven (a New Haven-based company). John, who has dropped out of his Yale music faculty position, has been letting his home and himself go, and accepts Rhoda's offer. He has no idea who she is, and when she finishes asks her to come back the next week. Despite her fear, Rhoda returns to clean regularly but tears up John's cheques. In time, a caring relationship develops and they have sex.

Rhoda is chosen to be one of the first to travel to the other Earth. John asks her not to go when she tells him, believing they might have something together. She finally decides to tell him the truth about who she his. He is upset and throws her out of the house.

Rhoda hears an astrophysicist talking on television describing a "broken mirror" hypothesis. Rhoda rushes back to John's house, but he refuses to let her in. She breaks into his house, and he begins to strangle her. He stops, and when she recovers she tells him she heard that the moment the people on both worlds knew about each other, their syncronicity was broken, and that she thinks his family could be alive on the other Earth. She leaves him the ticket. In time, she learns that John accepted the gift and becomes one of the first civilian space travelers to the other Earth.

Four months later, on a foggy day, Rhoda approaches her house, discovering her other self from Earth 2 standing in front of her, dressed as she used to before the accident.



The idea behind Another Earth first developed out of director Mike Cahill and actress Brit Marling speculating as to what it would be like were one to encounter one's own self. In order to explore the possibility on a large scale, they devised the concept of a duplicate Earth. The visual representation of the duplicate planet was deliberately made to evoke the Moon, as Cahill was deeply inspired by the 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing.[4] This movie shares some of its plot details with the 1969 British sci-fi movie Doppelganger.

Another Earth was filmed in and around New Haven, Connecticut, Mike Cahill's hometown – with some scenes taking place along the West Haven shoreline and at West Haven High School and Union Station – so that he could avail himself of the services of local friends and family and thus reduce expenses. His childhood home was used as Rhoda's home and his bedroom as Rhoda's room. The scene of the car collision was made possible through the help of a local police officer with whom Cahill was acquainted, who cordoned off part of a highway late one night. The scene in which Rhoda leaves the prison facility was filmed by having Marling walk into an actual prison posing as a yoga instructor and then exiting.[5]

According to Brit Marling, she approached William Mapother for the role of John after "being haunted" by his performance in In the Bedroom (2001). Mapother consented to work on Another Earth for $100 a day.[6] When asked why he agreed to join the cast, considering the "notoriously hit or miss" nature of independent films, Mapother replied that he was drawn by the film's subject and by the names involved in the project. At Mapother's insistence, he and the production team worked extensively on the scenes of John and Rhoda in order to develop John's character in the film.[7]

The film ignores the physical consequences of having a similar-sized planet and moon appear nearby (i.e. effect on tides, gravity and atmosphere) other than depicting night time as brighter due to the reflection of the Sun's light off the other planet. The DVD / Blu-ray deleted scenes feature reveals that the film makers did intend to illustrate some of the consequences by filming a scene in which Rhoda encounters flowers floating in mid-air, but the scene was cut from the final film.


The musical score was composed by Fall on Your Sword, with the exception of the song played in the musical saw scene, composed by Scott Munson and performed by Natalia Paruz.[8] Mike Cahill came upon Paruz, known also as the "Saw Lady", while riding the subway in New York. Mesmerized by her playing, he obtained her contact information and arranged for her to coach William Mapother on how to hold and act as if playing the saw for the scene in the film.[4][9]


Another Earth had its world premiere at the 27th Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. It was released in dramatic competition. Variety reported: "[It] has been deemed one of the more highly praised pics of the fest as it received a standing ovation after the screening and strong word of mouth from buyers and festgoers." The distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures won distribution rights to the film in a deal worth $1.5 million to $2 million, beating out other distributors including Focus Features and the Weinstein Company.[10]

Fox Searchlight is the distributor of Another Earth in the United States, Canada, and other English-speaking territories.[10] The film had a limited release in the United States and Canada on July 22, 2011, expanding to a wide release in ensuing months.[11]

In its first week in theaters, it grossed $112,266.[12] Eventually, the film grossed $1,776,935 worldwide.


Rotten Tomatoes gives Another Earth a rating of 64% based on reviews from 124 critics.[13]

Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three and a half stars out of four. Ebert commented that, "Another Earth is as thought-provoking, in a less profound way, as Tarkovsky's Solaris, another film about a sort of parallel Earth".[14]


Another Earth won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, for "focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character."[15] It went on to earn the Audience Award in the category of Narrative Feature at the 2011 Maui Film Festival.[16][17]

Another Earth was named one of the top 10 independent films of the year at the 2011 National Board of Review Awards and was nominated for a Georgia Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture.

See also[edit]

  • Journey to the Far Side of the Sun— The first science-fiction film produced (1969 film) that dealt with a similar double Earth premise. It was initially called Doppelganger.
  • The Quiet Earth—The scene in which Zac Hobson discovers a planet (similar to Saturn) rising out of the Ocean.


External links[edit]

  1. ^Robinson, Tasha (22 July 2011). "Mike Cahill". Interview. Retrieved 13 April 2014.  
  2. ^Dargis, Manohla (July 21, 2011). "Living in a Different World, Searching for a Second Chance". The New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2011.  
  3. ^Taylor, Ella (July 21, 2011). "Another Chance At Life On 'Another Earth'". NPR. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011.  
  4. ^ abSoistmann, Billy (July 25, 2011). "Interview: Mike Cahill discusses [intertwining] science fiction and drama in Another Earth". Cinedork.com. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.  
  5. ^Smith, Abbe (November 26, 2009). "Hamden filmmaker returns to his roots". Greenwich Time. New Haven. Retrieved August 8, 2011.  
  6. ^Welch, Jack (July 12, 2011). "William Mapother". Louisville Magazine. Retrieved July 28, 2011.  
  7. ^"Exclusive: ANOTHER EARTH's William Mapother Interview". Daemon's Movies. Daemons Media. 2011.  
  8. ^"Simotas Presents Citation Of Honor To Musical Saw Festival". The Queens Gazette. July 27, 2011.  
  9. ^Pais, Matt (July 25, 2011). "Q&A: Chicago native 'Another Earth' star/co-writer Brit Marling". RedEye. Retrieved August 3, 2011.  
  10. ^ abStewart, Andrew; Lodderhose, Diana (January 26, 2011). "First on Variety: Searchlight nabs 'Earth'". Variety. 
  11. ^Stewart, Andrew (March 10, 2011). "Weinstein Co. dates trio of pics". Variety. 
  12. ^"Another Earth (2011)". Box Office Mojo. July 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.  
  13. ^"Another Earth Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 
  14. ^Ebert, Roger (July 27, 2011). "Another Earth (PG-13)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  15. ^Stewart, Andrew (January 28, 2011). "'Earth' awarded Sundance's Sloan prize". Variety. 
  16. ^"Audience Awards 2011". Maui Film Festival. June 2011. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  17. ^Brooks, Brian (June 22, 2011). "'Another Earth' Takes Audience Nod at Maui Film Festival". IndieWire. Archived from the original on June 26, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.  

George, the hero of "The Art of Getting By," is a high school senior who has decided to stop doing homework and paying any attention to tests. He isn't tortured, depressed, addicted or anything like that. It has occurred to him that he will die, and therefore what use is homework? This is more sophisticated than my theory, which was that homework would kill me.

George is played by Freddie Highmore, who only yesterday was the kid in "August Rush." He could make a durable leading man because he looks good, and by that I don't mean handsome, I mean kind and likable. He's nice even when he explains to his parents and teachers that he doesn't see the point in graduating from school. He's the spiritual kin of Melville's Bartleby the scrivener, who patiently informed people, "I would prefer not to."


By not assigning a fixable reason for George's behavior, the movie sidesteps some of the cliches of the teen problem picture. Not all of them. There's always romance. George, for example, is attracted to Sally (Emma Roberts), a classmate who he assumes is somehow beyond his reach. In this he isn't being defeatist but, he thinks, simply realistic. If he were a little more perceptive, he'd realize Sally likes him a whole lot. His life seems stuck on pause.

His passivity is both interesting and frustrating, because George possesses the answers to all of his problems and freely chooses to be unhappy. As a result, most of the tension generated by the movie is in ourselves and not in the plot. We want George to succeed, we want him together with Sally, and we even like Dustin (Michael Angarano), an older artist who likes Sally and likes George, too. Dustin is so nice, he would step aside from Sally if he thought George was ever going to make a move. Not likely in romance, but there you have it.

George's mother and stepfather (Rita Wilson and Sam Robards) are concerned, but curiously distant. The family is obviously affluent, but isn't obsessed with George graduating or getting into a good school. He is spared counseling or diagnosis, and we later learn about their distractions. But his school is very engaged, especially his principal (Blair Underwood), his English teacher (Alicia Silverstone), and his bearded and irascible art teacher (Jarlath Conroy). They come up with a deadline that would provide more tension if it were not so clear that a film like this requires George to meet it.

That leads to a rather sadistic scene in which George must actually attend his school graduation ceremony to find out if he's graduating. This last-instant verdict has been brought about by the principal, who, until this point in the film, has been unfailingly kind and understanding. I fear the scene exists for the single purpose of concocting an ending for the screenplay. It shouldn't be so obvious.

Another problem involves certain details of the relationship between Sally and Dustin that I don't want to spoil for you. Let me use evasive language. With what is implied by her apparent decision, we must assume emotional decisions on her part that aren't consistent with her eventual choices. You'll see what I mean.

"The Art of Getting By" is pleasant and well-acted and easy to watch. I wouldn't advise against seeing it, because it showcases Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts (Julia's niece), and they are likely to do greater things, but at the end, I was wondering, what is the point? Nice people lead enviable lives, the hero can solve most of his own problems, and the villain is a sweetheart. It's custard without the lemon.


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