The Man From Earth
John: “There is something I'm tempted to tell you, I think. I've never done this before...I wonder how it will pan out. I wonder if I could ask you a silly question?”
Art: “John, We're teachers. We answer silly questions all the time.”
John: “What if a man from the upper Paleolithic survived until the present day?”
release year: 2007
genre: drama with a hint of sci-fi
viewing setting: home DVD 7/5/17
synopsis: As a college professor packs his belonging and prepares to move, some of his colleagues show up to see him off and find out why he's leaving. His answer both amazes them and challenges everything they think they know to be true.
impressions: The quote line up there says it all: what if a man had survived without aging for many millennia? Like 14,000 years? What would he be like? What would he have seen and done? And what if he was sitting right here in front of you telling his story and answering all your questions? This is pure, thinking sci-fi - basically a long, continuous conversation around this topic and its implications. The best part is that it's all ambiguous, as to whether he's making up a story...or perhaps not. There is a slight twist at the end, but before that, a fairly major claim/concept that rocks one character to their core (and would likely do so for a number of viewers.) This film was neat and really got me thinking.
trivia: The writer of this story was Jerome Bixby, who was responsible for some of the best original Star Trek episodes ever, as well as a couple of other stories that became movies or TV episodes.
acting: In a movie like this, which is all dialogue, acting becomes really important. David Lee Smith is quiet and reserved as the enigmatic professor who may or may not be telling the truth about his past. Tony Todd is an anthropologist, and the friend most likely to believe the story. William Katt is an archaeologist, and the primary skeptic. John Billingsley is a biologist who brings a sense of humor to the discussion. Ellen Crawford is the devoutly religious friend. Annika Peterson is the historian who has feelings for the main character, and must reconsider those in light of his story.
final word: Thinking person's sci-fi; may challenge your mind, but well worth seeing.
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