“I just happened.”
The Man from Earth is one those movies that’ll actually make you think and wonder. It’ll make you question life, existence and everything that you see and hold dear for that tiny second before you’re snapped back to reality. A smooth-flowing, dialogue based film with only one room as a set location but actually it takes you to deepest parts of your imagination.
The Man from Earth is a movie that revolves around a conversation between intellectuals in John Oldman’s house in the outskirts. John is leaving his job and town to move on to an unknown destination. His colleagues are curious, and rightly so because he seems to be giving up being the Chair of his department, a very prestigious and long-awaited (tenured!) position for seemingly frivolous non-reasons. They ask him pointed questions and not-so-pointed questions about what exactly his deal is and why he’s taking off in such a hurry.
That’s when he drops his bombshell. He’s actually a fourteen-thousand year old caveman and he has to move before someone figures out that he’s not aging.
The story soon devolves into conversations about biology, psychology, religion and existentialism.
“How can we prove it’s real?”
“More importantly, how can we disprove it?”
These are questions that we grapple with in everyday life and it’s put across beautifully in this movie. Does religion have a say in the working off the world or is it something created sorely for the reason of answering the unanswerable?
One part that really stuck out in the movie for me was when Dan asked John if he had kept a figurine from the Paleolithic age to better remember the past. John replies by saying that he had no reason to keep artifacts when he had no concept of beginnings. In Dan’s eye, this would have further solidified John’s outrageous claims and when John refutes it, as a viewer, you can see that this was when Dan started slowly believing this outrageous claim. And you did too.
John’s life spans so many centuries and he’s met the great of the greats – Buddha, Columbus and so one. He’s even been one of them. He deals with loss and love, highs and lows and does not regret life as he knows it – because fear of death, or rather fear of the unknown still persists for him. In his eyes, it could very well be that everyone else was living wrong, doing something wrong that made them unable to live as he did.
The mood is initially skeptical, curious and amused but later turns to fear, confusion and ultimately ends in relief and sorrow – when John laughs it off, saying it was a wild story that was completely made-up. It’s not only a test for the characters in the movie but for the viewers as well. There would be some like Sandy who would believe it completely and some like Edith and Art who would completely disbelieve it. And then there would be people like Dan, or me, who would hover on the edge of uncertainty, loving the idea, open to possibilities but holding back all the same. It’s not a good place to be but it’s less stressful, I’ll tell you that.
This movie is simply a must watch and is recommended for all you out there. Go download/rent this movie and get ready for an amazing adventure. The Man from Earth is a film that urges questions for answers that cannot be proven. As yet. But it also talks of an important lesson of not being too rigid, or stop believing in what-ifs – because at the end of the day, if nothing’s proven then anything is possible, right?
This is a guest review by, Priyanka Ashok.
The link to her blog is: https://dragnisblog.wordpress.com/