‘The Man From Earth’ Review: An Underrated Sci-Fi Marvel
A spoiler-free movie review.
These days multi-million dollar sci-fi thrillers are just rolling around. Films like Interstellar, Gravity, Ad Astra, The Martian, etc are dominating science fiction. But, some films go under the radar. They’re tight on budget, but the plot is so engaging that it leaves its viewers awestruck. And one of these films is The Man from Earth, and here’s our movie review on it!
Premise – The Man from Earth, who lived for 14,000 years!
The Premise of the film is as interesting as it gets. After all, they had to find some way to make up for the lack of budget? Try making a sci-fi classic with just a $200,000 budget. Therefore, this movie review will include an analysis of the plot, characters, and scripting (dialogue). We’ll skip on the CGI review in this film. Seems fair, right?
Anyways, the story of The Man from Earth starts with a college professor, John Oldman (David Lee Smith). who is about to leave his job in a university. He was trying to flee the department without anyone knowing, but a few of his colleagues traced him back to his lodge. There, in a fire sad chat, when they asked why he was leaving so abruptly, his reply shook them. He told them that he has lived on Earth for more than 14,000 years!
Yes, it’s crazy! After his confession, the other characters try to debunk his story and see if he’s lying, crazy, or a caveman! And that’s how we spend 87 minutes in John Oldman’s lodge in The Man from Earth.
Characters – simple, but on point
In a movie like this, characters play the most important role, since there’s no CGI involved. And they delivered without a shadow of a doubt!
David Lee Smith was phenomenal as John Oldman. In his character, you felt the wisdom of age, wear out from experience, but also that ego of a knowledgable man who knows way beyond his years. For any moment, John Oldman never felt like he was imposing his knowledge on others. Every moment he uttered a single word, the viewers would be captivated. So much so that my mother even asked me after watching the film, if John Oldman was a real man or not?
Other than Oldman, the side characters delivered brilliantly. Now, there were a variety of side characters, including a biologist, historian, theologian, psychiatrist, anthropologist, etc. The cast, which was Alexis Thorpe, Annika Peterson, Richard Riehle, John Billingsley, Ellen Crawford, Tony Todd, and William Katt truly delivered. They captured the surprise that any expert in a field would feel, coupled with the despair of realizing that your friend is just a nut.
The plot and scripting – simple, yet engaging
As mentioned before, The Man from Earth is completely shot in one small lodge. And the entire cast just sits around a fireplace, trying to decipher what is wrong with John Oldman.
And that brings us to the real gem of the movie in our review – dialogue and scripting. This film has an insanely engaging dialogue between the cast. Some even resonate with the viewers to this day, like:
Edith, I was raised on the Torah, my wife on the Quran, my eldest son is an Atheist, my youngest is a scientologist, my daughter is studying Hinduism. I imagine there is room there for a holy war in my living room, but we practice live and let live.
And when the reality of John Oldman got too crazy to handle, Tony Rodd made Star Trek seem more believable:
I’m going home and watch Star Trek for a dose of sanity.
And last, but certainly not the least, John Oldman’s infinite wisdom summed up in one line:
Piety is not what the lessons bring to the people. It’s the mistakes they bring to the lessons.
The Man from Earth questions reality
By the end of the film, you almost want John Oldman to be a real character. That is how much you love the film. It engages your mind into a philosophical and evolutionary debate. Moreover, it makes us question our perception of reality, and how it evolved from the caveman to the modern human being we see today.
Few movies make you re-think your life. And the Writer Jerome Bixby, Director, and Producer Richard Schenkmen and Eric Wilkinson delivered in this department. That’s why the film has a 7.9 IMDB rating, 85% audience score on Rotten tomatoes, and a 4.8 rating on Google. And on top of that, I give The Man from Earth film a 9.5/10. Simply incredible.