Jerusalem which now is, . . . is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:25-6)
Another Earth is an unusual hybrid of existential rumination on life choices, mind-bending sci-fi supposition, and challenging indie art film that moves at a pace that is often maddeningly oblique. . . . Using broadly impressionistic and experimental strokes, the story follows the disjointed meanderings of 17-year-old Rhoda, who causes a tragic accident while driving drunk after celebrating her acceptance into college. The collision happens when she becomes distracted by the mesmerizing planetary image glowing above her car's moon roof, which has just been identified as an exact duplicate of Earth. After four years of incarceration, she continues to suffer terrible remorse and tries to find a way to make peace with herself and the older man whose life and family she all but destroyed, and who is now crippled by depression. Her initial self-imposed penance is to adopt the role of an anonymous maid who comes to clean his decrepit house every week. As precious few details are added to their individual and mutual evolution and motivation, the constant of the alternate Earth, which has been steadily moving closer (along with its mirror-image Moon), hovers in the day and night sky, gazed upon with wonder and a growing idea that maybe it represents the redemption Rhoda can't find on her own. A corporate contest that will allow an ordinary citizen to make a shuttle trip to Earth 2 (or is it Earth 1?) becomes the catalyst for her belief that she can fundamentally alter both their lives for the better . . . (Ted Fry, Amazon)
At the beginning of the film, it is announced that another Earth, in every way identical to our Earth, has been discovered.
|Two of these people are dead :^(|
Our protagonist Rhoda Williams--the Spirit in exile--having become momentarily distracted gazing into the night sky at this new planet (gazing at her own reflection, as it were), kills John Burroughs' family in a car accident and places John--the King--in a coma (Osiris is slain); she is sentenced to jail (the curse of the Law--Amanda Knox motif). Like 9/11, Earth 2's discovery is marred by violence, and both Rhoda and John enter the Underworld. (That is, the first encounter with Self, distant and obscure, necessitates a philosophic Death from which a new life will be born.)
Rhoda appears wrapped in plastic shortly after her release from prison--having been rescued from the ice--in what seems like almost a deliberate reference to Laura Palmer in the Twin Peaks pilot.
John Burroughs, too, awakes from his coma at the same time that Rhoda returns; their lives are interconnected. John has suffered the fate of Job, his family having been killed. His life is now one of crippling despair. (9/11 was an "inside Job".)
Rhoda takes a job as a cleaner--like Tyler Durden, she is in the business of alchemical purification. As a form of restitution, Rhoda must clean John's house, i.e., the tomb of Osiris--in so doing, she restores the Wasteland (Grimmauld Place; cf. Lindsay Lohan cleaning the morgue). Heal the Wounded King!
A tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist (or synchromystic?) in movie says that Earth 1 (our Earth) is actually a projection of the minds of the inhabitants of Earth 2.
Man on the Street: We're not real. W-We're not real. We're a projection of the imagination of Earth Two.
Later, Rhoda's wish to visit Earth 2 is explicitly compared to her wishing to exit Plato's cave.
The other Earth is "kind of this externalization of the interior world of Rhoda," says Cahill. "She can deal with those ideas of the confrontation of the self just by looking in the mirror, but I felt like there was something very powerful about really externalizing it," by creating a situation where there really is another version of all of us. . . . The other Earth literally allows the possibility of meeting yourself. Cahill sees the science fiction conceit in the film as a way of exploring "the inner world of who we are, and what it means to be human." Rhoda's desire to become an astronaut and explore this other Earth is a metaphor for exploring your own inner self. (io9)
John: You don't know what's out there.
Rhoda: That's why I should go.
John: In Plato's allegory of the cave, the people living in the cave... All they knew, what was in the cave, and one day one of them gets out ... and goes out and ... sees the real world, comes back and tells the others. You know what happened to him? They beat him up. They didn't believe it. "That can't be," they said.
In other words, Earth 2 is the Platonic True Reality, of which our false reality is only a delusive imitation. This interior world is where all of the archetypes live, which are then projected onto the shadowy wall of our Earth--the outer is a reflection of the inner. Earth 2 has been in "Sync" with Earth 1 for billions of years--once Earth 2 is discovered (emerges into consciousness), the planets become "out of Sync". Thus, this New Earth is meant to represent the realm of illumination--the New Jerusalem as an emblem of psychic wholeness--the True Self. All of these manifold ideas crystallize around a single unifying point.
Rhoda's idiot brother has a T-shirt that reads, literally, GARDEN STATE. He still inhabits the Cave of ignorance. (Spoilers follow:)
|"You are wondering why. No, no, no—you know why."|
This film would be incomplete if it did not also tackle the Suicide King angle. Rhoda works as a janitor with a blind, dark-skinned old man (i.e., the blind idiot Demiurge; the dark pillar that must "die") who attempts to kill himself with bleach--an obvious Albedo ("whitening") resonator.
|YHWH and his Shekinah. Or something.|
As usual, what began as a mission of mercy becomes a Chemical Romance. Yet John is horrified to discover that his lover is also she who condemned him to the Underworld in the first place. In his anger over all of the manifold ordeals he has been made to endure, he casts her out of his life--but she gives John the world's most precious gift: A ticket to Earth 2, where his parallel family still lives. Like Job, he is given a new family to replace what was lost. The King is healed in Zion--the New Earth.
Rhoda: Suddenly Jupiter was alive, breathing. I was hypnotized.
. . .
(Hallo Spacegirl; or, Healing the King)
JB = John Burroughs = Jason Bateman.
Michael Bluth is the archetypal Jupiter father in Arrested Development who has to keep the family together after they lose everything. His father George Sr. is the Saturn father whose sins must be atoned for. Michael Cera (lover of Juno) is George-Michael; like Harry Potter, he contains both fathers within himself. Juno heals the King by giving him her child. (Tin man gains a heart.)
(The twin syzygy)
Another Earth has the dead wife again . . . same with Arrested Development, although it barely gets mentioned.
Tracey Bluth is Michael's deceased wife and George Michael's mother. Tracey had been dead for 2 years before the start of season one. In one episode, it is hinted that George Sr. was not that fond of his daughter-in-law, while on the other hand Lucille was quite fond of her . . . Her death is what drives Michael to persue a stronger relationship with their son George Michael. It is revealed that prior to her death, she was in a coma for several months.
|"In fact, Lindsay was currently wearing it on her middle toe."|
Wklaus23 adds: "Have you checked out the movie The Descendants? Clooney's wife is only conscious for a few seconds of film at the beginning, spends the rest in a coma. This is the impetus for Clooney to reconnect with his children." Beware the Ides of March?