Movie Marathon: Planets in the Sky

This is what I call extreme science fiction. Hyper-drive, laser weapons, space ships, and terra-formed moons are all fun to watch, but obviously far from our current reality. But, a planet so close to Earth that we can see it in the sky? That's bringing some serious science fiction home. Like most science fiction, the situation is clearly impossible, or at the very least hard to comprehend, but unlike podracing in a galaxy, far, far away, the idea of outer space affecting our life here on our little planet might unnerve you a little bit. Or a lot, if you're me. And you coincidentally watched both of these movies within one weekend and got thoroughly freaked out by the concept of other planets getting all up in Earth's face.


is divided into two parts. The first takes place at a wedding where we follow the bride, groom and their families through the reception. It's clear the bride suffers from depression and their relationship is codependent as the groom comforts the bride through her little bouts of depression and family drama. There are family fights, awkward speeches, and, of course, dancing. At the end of Part One, our bride, Justine, who apparently knows the night sky very well, comments that a star is gone. It's spot in the sky is just black.

In part two, we become aware that the reason that star was not to be found was because a new planet, Melancholia, was in front of it. It's months later and Melancholia now appears bigger than the moon in the blue sky. Justine, suffering from her depression, has come to stay with her sister, Claire, and her family. Claire is freaking out about Melancholia coming closer to Earth. The media is assuring the public that the planet will pass by Earth with no damage, but the conspiracy theorists online have convincing diagrams that show otherwise...

Overall, part one is pretty boring and part two freaked me out.

Another Earth

also has an ominous beginning. Rhoda is driving home intoxicated after celebrating her acceptance to MIT when she notices a 'star' in the sky that wasn't there before. While distracted, she drives into another car containing a man, woman, and child. Four years later, Rhoda is released from prison, and seeks out the man whose family she killed. She becomes a part of his life without ever revealing her secret. Meanwhile, the new planet is close enough that we can see it in the sky and it looks to be identical to Earth. When it gets close enough, communication is possible and we discover that the planet not only looks like Earth, but holds identical people on it as well...

Aside from the sci-fi aspects, this movie is really a character-driven film. It focuses on the relationship between Rhoda and the man. I think it's really interesting to watch a unique personal relationship develop not just in our regular old world, but with this enormous inter-planetary event happening. It gives the movie an opportunity to step back from the central relationship, with another interesting aspect of their world to learn about. Some character-driven films lose any sense of plot, they are just so involved in a single personal relationship.

So, if you're ready for some too-close-to-home science fiction stories, watch both these movies tonight and see if you don't get an ominous feeling in your gut the next time you see the full moon during the day...