It’s a special day today for me, not because its my birthday, more because I like to do the last movie analysis this year – The Man from Earth. Which is one of my favourite movies of all time!
Friends gather to wish farewell to John Oldman (David Lee Smith), who has decided to move away for unspecified reasons. He begins a discussion about what a man from the distant past might be like before making an admission – he is such a man, a freak of nature born 14,000 years ago who reached the age of 35 and then never aged again. He is moving, he says, because he has always done so about every ten years, so that people don’t notice that he doesn’t age.
Everybody believes that he is just spinning a tall tale – his claims include living through the tail end of the last ice age, seeing the emergence of agriculture, living in ancient Babylon, studying with Buddha himself in India, being a friend of Van Gogh – he has a painting that he claims is a Van Gogh original – and so on.
Perhaps most startlingly, he claims to have been Jesus – passing on a modernised version of the teachings he learned from Buddha when he lived in the middle east. He says the bible version is largely fictionalised, as he performed no miracles and never claimed any divinity – but he did survive his own crucifixion by blocking the pain and slowing his heart and breathing as he had learned in India before “coming back to life” in front of witnesses.
Eventually psychiatrist Dr. Will Gruber (Richard Riehle) angrily threatens to have John committed for observation if he won’t admit that his story is a lie. John responds by saying that it is indeed just a made up story. But afterwards, he admits to Sandy (Annika Peterson) that he only said that to comfort them; his story is true. As he discusses previous names he has used with her, Gruber recognises one and realises that John is his father. The shock makes Gruber collapse and die of a heart attack.
In the end John leaves with Sandy, who has said she is in love with him, rather than leaving alone as he had planned. Ultimately it is never definitely established whether John is what he claims to be, though it is strongly implied that he is.
Why is this movie which plays in one room special?
The casting is excellent! The dialogue is wonderful and insightful, the structure of the story, set within one location, is impressive as we watch the different reactions from John’s colleagues when he tells them his secret. The story manages to keep the audience guessing, just like John’s colleagues.
You feel like you’re in that cabin with these characters, trying to ascertain what the hell is going on with our dear friend John Oldman.
The whole movie is just a simple idea. An idea which transition smoothly into one of the best sci-fi ever written. The conversation is so captivating that you wouldn’t want to miss a word of what is being said. In one room this movie has analyzed the concept of biology, history, religion, anthropology, and best of all human emotions. It has tried to answer the basic question of what it is to be a human in a world divided by boundaries, religion, caste, colour and what not.
Why does Dr. Gruber die at the end and did it prove that John was Jesus?
Dr. Gruber died of a heart attack after the shock of learning that John Oldman is his father. According to John Oldman’s account of history, he was the man written about in the new testament – the one we call Jesus.
What about the second movie? “The Man from Earth: Holocene”
The second movie isn’t released (world wide) yet but will come out next year, Febr. 27. The original (US only) release was
I really really like the movie. Watching it made me feel like a kid again. It is really like reading a good book. My imagination took over and filled in the gaps where a big budget movie would use flashbacks as a visual aid. It is a great story made even better by the setting. Reminds me of a campfire story. I am also not the kind of person who purposefully tries to ruin movies by looking for plot holes or by failing to suspend my disbelief, so take my review for what it is.