Director: Mike Cahill
Stars: Brit Marling, William Mapother, Matthew-Lee Erlbach
Starring director Mike Cahill’s co-writer Brit Marling, this Sundance prize winner tells a sci-fi story within the realm of intense human emotion, and with minimal special effects. A double of planet Earth, called Earth 2, is discovered to be moving alarmingly towards Earth 1. But events that concern the protagonists are at ground level, beginning with a tragic car accident caused by astrophysics student Rhoda (Marling). Returning from a party of much imbibing, she’s too busy marveling at Earth 2 from her car window to notice an approaching family sedan. A boy and his pregnant mom are killed in the crash. The father, former Ivy League music professor John Burroughs (William Mapother, TV’s Lost), is left in a coma. Rhoda is sent to jail for four years. Upon her release, she learns Burroughs has come out of his coma, with no memory of the crash. To atone for her sins, she pretends to work for a cleaning agency, and offers a “free trial” to Burroughs, who is badly in need of assistance in his neglected country abode. As Rhoda scrubs away physical grime, will her psyche also rub clean? Anchoring the drama are Marling and Mapother, who bond in grief. They deliver convincing portrayals of humans so weighed down by life’s burdens, they can barely lift their eyes to the heavens — but what if those same heavens offer a chance of redemption?