I watched the movie Another Earth, written by and staring the lovely prodigy Brit Marling. It’s a good movie if you like independent films and don’t fully think through the implications of its sci-fi premise.
One part rang false: Marling’s character, fresh from four years in prison for (I assume) vehicular homicide, walks into an employment agency and walks out with a job as a public school janitor.
Really? I’ll admit that I don’t have much experience in job-finding for other than professional-class employment (and even then; I held my last job for 20 years). But that just looked too easy for someone with, basically, no work experience, especially with unemployment rates for menial-class workers nowadays. Also: wouldn’t a school especially look askance at a felony conviction?
That said, another aspect rang true. Marling represents herself as an employee of a cleaning service and begins cleaning the house of the man (Mike Cahill) whose family she killed. Cahill’s character lives in an alcoholic depression amid his growing piles of garbage, but as Marling makes headway against it, he begins to rouse himself to get his life back together.
Now, you might argue that this storyline is a cliché, but in this case I think the cliché is entirely plausible. I can imagine myself in that situation, wallowing in bitter despondency. I can also imagine that, were I to allow a beautiful girl into my personal space, even in a (initially) non-romantic context, a combination of shame and dopamine would drive me to clean myself up, even if I didn’t really want to.