ANOTHER EARTH is a smart, sensitive low budget film about a woman struggling with extreme guilt and a man dealing with a painful loss.
It's more of an compelling art film than a mainstream drama though many critics believe its lead actress, the talented Brit Marling, is destined to become a Hollywood movie star.
Marling plays Rhoda Williams a seventeen year old who has just one a scholarship to study astrophysics. During one moment of inattention behind the steering wheel of her car, Rhoda kills a mother and son, the family of John Burroughs, a Yale music professor played by William Mapother. (You may remember him as Ethan in LOST.)
After four years in prison, Rhoda goes to see John who is mired in deep depression. but when he answers the door she cannot tell him who she is.
She winds up working as his maid. Slowly, the two become close even as she continues to hide what she's done.
There's also a science fiction element to the film. Another earth, "Earth 2," if you will, has been discovered, and on that planet there exists another version of every person on this earth. Could going there and meeting her other self be a way of forgiving herself?
ANOTHER EARTH may sound far fetched but it's grounded in strong human emotions.
The relationship in ONE DAY isn't nearly as believable as the one in ANOTHER EARTH, but that's not because of any shortcomings of the actors.
Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess play two people who belong together although it takes their characters the better part of two decades to really understand that.
The movie presents a snapshot of their lives for one day every year: each July 15th from 1988 to the present. The actors handle that challenge convincingly, but the screenwriter who has some trouble with the structure.
The result is a flawed film. Some sections are really good; others are disappointing; and one is flat out maddening.
ONE DAY is worth seeing, but it could have been so much better.