Admirable, no-budget sci fi gets sucked in by the gravitational pull of sad teenagers and planet-sized metaphors
By Devin D. O’Leary
Writer-director Mike Cahill and writer-actor Brit Marling have cleverly concocted a sci-fi premise that requires little to no effort (or money) to bring to cinematic life. Marling stars as Rhoda Williams, a bright-star teenager who graduates high school on a fast track to MIT. Unfortunately, one very poor decision involving a party, a lot of booze and a car leads to tragedy. A few years down the road, Rhoda is released from jail, her once-promising life now in shambles. A lot has changed since Rhoda’s ill-fated night. Chief among those changes has been the discovery of a new planet, seemingly identical to Earth, in rotation around the sun.