At the very end of the movie Another Earth (2011), Rhoda

sees that her "other" self (from Earth Two) is there at her house on Earth One.

What is the meaning of this? Did John

send the "other" Rhoda back so that our Rhoda could see what she would have become if she hadn't gotten in the accident, and had gone to MIT? Did John send the other Rhoda back to torture our Rhoda?

I don't understand the meaning of the end at all.

  • 3
    Kind of feel like the screenwriter actually intended it to be unknown, and while they may have favored a particular story, the idea that there could be multiple endings is pretty much the theme of the entire movie. It makes you want to rush to the internet to find the "True" answer, when the truth is... There may be many.
    – BadPirate
    Jun 12, 2012 at 21:31
  • This may give an answer, of sorts: criticizethis.ca/2011/07/…
    – gwideman
    May 27, 2013 at 0:09
  • Oh my gosh, I was wrong. It was This Earth all along. Mar 4, 2022 at 12:29

12 Answers 12


I don't think that John sent the other Rhoda back to meet 'our' Rhoda. The two Earths' histories diverged when they both observed the other Earth. At the moment of divergence, 'our' Rhoda was distracted by the other Earth and got into the crash. If this hadn't happened, she would have gone off to MIT to study the stars, just as communications with the other Earth were opening up and the expeditions from each Earth were being planned.

Rhoda was going to go to MIT, and she had a passion for astronomy. Had she not been in the accident, she would have been a natural candidate for heading to the other Earth. I've always assumed this is what occurred, and that we are seeing the alternate, successful Rhoda at the end of the film. This fits in with the movie's theme of the other Earth representing duplicate alternates of all of us who lived slightly different lives for the past few years.

Another option is that it's entirely plausible that on both Earths the Rhodas submitted winning essays to attempt to be on the trip to the other Earth. Only due to the tragedy that she caused did 'our' Rhoda stay on her Earth.

  • 9
    To add a little credit to your theory... they were really clear about "You can see this new planet if you look to the East", I feel like if the 2nd earth was in a different part of the sky, Rhonda would have been looking a different way, or been unable to see it from where she was, and therefore would have either swerved different, or not hit them at all. But I got the feeling that part was important.
    – BadPirate
    Jun 12, 2012 at 21:35
  • 1
    Actually, they said "east of the north star" which has some symbolic meaning in and of itself, but your interpretation could still be correct either way.
    – Finster
    Apr 15, 2014 at 6:30
  • 2
    Rhoda won the competition because of the fact that she is an ex-con who has served time as a juvenile. This event is a big thing, a prospect MIT student who is a janitor instead. The pain of the event and the consequence of having nothing to lose makes her win it. On earth-2 she would be yet another smart student like 1000s. That would make it very difficult to win it on Earth-2.
    – MovieMe
    Jan 10, 2016 at 7:55

According to the summary on Wikipedia, he did it to reassure her that what she wanted to be true, was true:

Rhoda hears in a telecast the citizens of the mirror Earth were identical to those on her Earth in every way until the moment they learned of the others' existence. From that point on, the identical people on the different Earths probably began to deviate in small ways, changing their actions. Rhoda hopes her identical self on the other Earth did not make the mistakes she made on the night of the accident.


My interpretation is that for the final movie scenes — where we watch Rhoda see the video of John preparing to travel, and then walk up her driveway and see "herself" — we have switched to the perspective of the alternate Earth.

The Rhoda waiting on the driveway is the Rhoda we have watched throughout the film, who has followed through with visiting herself. I do not accept that the Rhoda we watched through the film transferred her ticket to John. (As if she could exercise control over who went?) On Earth 1, Rhoda is the ticket winner; on Earth 2, John is the ticket winner.

  • That is a really interesting idea.
    – Zoe
    Apr 8, 2012 at 20:57

ref: Another Earth Explained

Yes, it's most likely that Rhoda of Earth 2 has come because of John from Earth 1. This is clearly not a case of John from Earth 1 and Rhoda from Earth 2 crisscrossing and landing up in their "other" Earth in the same time frame.

Look at this picture: Rhoda stands at the end of a dock looking out across the sea; in a blue sky with a few clouds is Earth-2, Africa and the Arabian peninsula clearly visible

That's Earth-2 as seen from Earth-1.

How far does that put the two Earths? Not very far. In and around the distance of the moon. It takes 3-4 days to get to the moon from Earth - this is for a manned mission. Let's triple the time, that would make 12 days, about 2 weeks. 2 weeks is how long it would take to reach the other Earth.

Rhoda of Earth 1 and Rhoda of Earth 2 run into each other after months and not weeks. That removes the possibility that Rhoda of Earth 2 and John from Earth 1 leave their respective planets at the same time. Rhoda of Earth 2 arrives much after John of Earth 1 reaches Earth 2.

Perhaps there was no competition on Earth-2. Or even if there was Rhoda didn't win it as she arrives only 3-4 months later.

Hence it is more likely that John's landing on Earth-2 lead to Rhoda of Earth-2 getting to know the story of the accident and influenced her to come to Earth 1. If not for John's story, Rhoda on Earth 2 would be one among thousands of MIT (assuming the accident doesn't happen) and other top university students enthusiastic to travel to the other Earth. Not enough to be picked for travel.

If the accident did happen on Earth 2 as well, Rhoda has no reason to be selected if not for winning the competition (which she hasn't else she would arrive on Earth 1 much sooner, in 2 weeks and not 4 months)

Hope that clarifies.


The synchronicity did indeed end when the two planets first made contact. John finds his wife and child ( and himself) still alive and Rhoda is attending MIT. John sends Rhoda's other self back to let her know everything is ok.


In many of these answers the two Earths deviate at the moment of discovery. We know this not to be true because of the SETI woman making contact with herself at the exact time of communication. So everything on both Earths is at least the same up to that point. The wife and child die on both Earths. I had assumed that 4 months was the amount of time it took to travel to the other Earth.

The only way the ending works for me is if that the man in charge of the contest communicated with himself on the other Earth and made sure that they both picked different winners. So on one Earth Rhoda wins and gives her ticket to the professor, and on the other Earth the professor wins and gives his ticket to Rhoda. The only problem is that in the movie the professor says that it is a stupid idea. But he may have changed his mind at some point.


Or maybe, in both worlds Rhonda had an accident. While John's wife and son died in our world and he survived, probably John2 died in his world and his wife and kid survived. When John 1 got there, he got " reunited" with "his" family and sent Rhonda 2 to earth 1 or just like Rhonda 1, Rhonda 2 probably won the lottery. As for the argument above that Rhonda2 look well dressed because she's probably more successful- could be true but if you had to meet a stranger or your other self wouldn't you want to look nice?


The histories diverge the moment each Rhoda sees the other Earth. This causes one Rhoda to kill the wife and children, and the other Rhoda to kill the husband.

The Earths are more or less in sync so both Rhodas enter the contest and win, but one Rhoda doesn't have a John to give her ticket to. On Earth Two the wife doesn't despair because she has a family to look after.

Both Earths remain in time sync, as proved by the SETI chat. Both space ships leave at the same time. The distance is a red herring. They each arrive at each other's Earth. John is fulfilled and the two Rhodas have found renewed life.


First and foremost, I believe I can explain how the movie ended: Rhoda "Earth 1" sacrificed and gave John the ticket so he could visit "Earth 2" to see his wife and son. Rhoda "Earth 2" had not caused the accident to his family, so her life went on normally. She completed her university and won the ticket to visit "Earth 1". So when she visited "Earth 1", she successfully met herself, implying that our Rhoda had not visited "Earth 2", whereas the other Rhoda had.


There are a number of reasons for Rhoda seeing herself at the end of the movie. The, hopeful one, would be that she wasn't involved in the accident, went onto MIT to study the stars and qualified for the mission without an essay. This is quite likely because if you consider that Earth-2 was visible east of the north star, then Earth-1 would be visible from the southern hemisphere. The earth, to me, seemed to get bigger as the movie went along, and was only a speck at the time of the accident. It would mean that Earth-1 wouldn't have been in view to the Earth-2 Rhoda, and likely wouldn't have had the accident.

The problem with this though is that when John arrives on Earth-2, he should also still be alive. therefore not getting his family back. This leaves many questions as to what he would do when he was there, other than play a video game with himself.

Did the accident happen, in which case why didn't Earth-2 Rhoda give up her seat also? Did Earth-2 John die and the wife and son survive, giving a sort of equality to that. This we'll never know.

I enjoyed the movie.


The mirror was broken the moment they made first contact by a woman in SETI.

Earth 1 Rhoda gave up her seat, and Earth 2 Rhoda simply did not. That's all. We do not know what happened on Earth 2 after the first contact, but that gave enough time for Rhoda2 to do several things different that would cause her not to give her ticket away.


The Earths did not diverge, because the woman from SETI was talking to her mirror person. But if it was a true mirror person, why would one ask a question and the other reply? They should be both asking same question at same time. This shows us the story has logic flaws. I could go on and on about this flaw.

So if they did not diverge, the rest of the movie does not make sense. They did diverge and the SETI episode was an oversight.

Now they did diverge: She gave her spot to the man and the other gal on E2, being that an MIT astrophysics student won the contest, without being a felon, and came to Earth! This is why they chose an MIT graduate to be the heroine of story—otherwise she could have been a doctor and the story could have been the same.

  • 1
    Divergence doesn't mean that everything has to be different. While an individual's actions may change, their natures are still pretty much the same. So it's possible (even likely) they both chose the same time to communicate but had different things to say. Sep 15, 2018 at 15:24

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