Review: The Man From Earth (2007)

The science fiction film by Jerome Bixby, The Man From Earth starts simply with some friend gathering at the cabin of John Oldman. (played by David Lee Smith) He’s preparing to move on, somewhat abruptly, and he has gathered them to say goodbye. After opening the night with some Johnny Walker, they have an extraordinary conversation as the evening develops. His cabin is on the edge of a wilderness. While not an unusual locale, the thoughtful discussion brings to mind John’s past years when he was divorced from human influences. The college professors and some students are relishing the friendship that they share.

As the story progresses into deeper history, John offers his friends a lot of trust. He tells them that in the past he would leave and not explain where he is going nor why. This time, John trusts his friends enough that he can candidly describe his past. These friends prove to the viewer that it’s worthwhile to share an engaging discussion.

John reviews his life forward from the simple culture of prehistoric man. As he saw the world expand, he reflects how he first saw mountains and then the ocean. He has met some extraordinary people through his life.

Jerome Bixby, the author of the screenplay was a successful science fiction writer. Among other credits, he wrote for the original Star Trek and Twilight Zone. This movie was brought to life by his son because Bixby died shortly after the screenplay was finished. According to the commentary, it was made on a limited budget, but I think it is still well made. One effect of that is that due to limited lighting, for some of the footage taken after sunset, the video is grainy.

The Man From Earth is the anti-thesis of an action movie. There aren’t special effects, stuntmen or violent conflicts. Instead, the film ends on a surprising note after John’s ideas are presented at a comfortable pace.

I enjoyed the film and have watched its several times. The situation seems organic and not hobbled with stereotypical characters that are simplistic and stilted.

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