The Man from Earth (2007)

Jerome Bixby's The Man from Earth

The Man from Earth (2007) - poster

Raiting: 7,8 /10

Genre: Drama

Director: Richard Schenkman

Stars: David Lee Smith, Richard Riehle and John Billingsley

Country: United States

Release date: 10 June 2007

Length: 87 minutes

"The Man from Earth" is a science fiction drama directed by Richard Schenkman, based on a screenplay by Jerome Bixby. The film unfolds almost entirely in a single, intimate setting and is driven by dialogue and ideas rather than action and special effects. It begins with John Oldman, a university professor, who unexpectedly resigns from his position, prompting his colleagues to seek an explanation for his sudden departure.

As his peers gather at his home to bid him farewell, John reveals an extraordinary secret: he is a Cro-Magnon man and has been alive for over 14,000 years, surviving through the ages by periodically moving and assuming new identities. Initially, his colleagues think it's an elaborate joke or a hypothetical exercise, but as John answers their questions and recounts his personal history, some begin to entertain the possibility that he might be telling the truth.

Throughout the film, John's narrative spans historical events and figures, as he claims to have been a friend of Van Gogh and a disciple of the Buddha. His story challenges the beliefs and professional expertise of his colleagues, who are experts in various fields such as anthropology, history, psychology, and religion. The conversation becomes a profound exploration of human existence, belief systems, and the nature of immortality, as the group grapples with the implications of John's story on their understanding of the world.

The tension gradually builds as the scholars' skepticism and curiosity lead to more probing questions and emotional responses. The film climaxes with a twist that forces both John and his friends to confront the profound impact of his revelation, leaving them—and the audience—to ponder the line between fact and fiction, the limits of human understanding, and the enigma of John's existence.

"The Man from Earth" is a thought-provoking film that leverages its simple production and setting to focus on its rich, intellectually stimulating dialogue. It's a unique entry in the science fiction genre that relies on the power of storytelling and the fascination with the unknown to captivate its audience, leaving them with lingering questions about life, history, and immortality.

Top cast - The Man from Earth (2007)

Alexis Thorpe

Alexis Thorpe

Linda Murphy

Richard Riehle

Richard Riehle

Dr. Will Gruber

Steven Littles

Steven Littles

Moving Man #1

Chase Sprague

Chase Sprague

Moving Man #2

Trailer - The Man from Earth (2007)

"The Man from Earth", directed by Richard Schenkman and based on a screenplay by the late Jerome Bixby, is a thought-provoking science fiction film that distinguishes itself from others in the genre through its unique approach and minimalist setting. Released in 2007, the film eschews the typical trappings of sci-fi—futuristic technology, alien landscapes, and action-packed sequences—for a more introspective and dialogue-driven narrative that unfolds in real-time within the confines of a single room.

The film centers on John Oldman, a university professor who, during a farewell gathering with colleagues, reveals that he is a 14,000-year-old Cro-Magnon man who has witnessed the dawn of civilization and the evolution of humanity. The premise might sound far-fetched, but it's the earnestness and depth with which the film explores this concept that captures the viewer's imagination. Through a series of intense and intellectually stimulating conversations, the film delves into themes of history, religion, human nature, and the concept of immortality.

What makes "The Man from Earth" particularly compelling is its reliance on the strength of its script and the performances of its cast. The actors, including David Lee Smith as John Oldman and Tony Todd, John Billingsley, and Ellen Crawford among the supporting cast, deliver their roles with conviction and depth, bringing authenticity to the speculative scenario. The dialogue is rich and thoughtfully crafted, inviting the audience to ponder alongside the characters the implications of John's extraordinary claim.

While the film's low budget and lack of visual effects might deter some viewers, those willing to engage with its philosophical inquiries will find "The Man from Earth" a rewarding experience. Its minimalism serves not as a limitation but as a canvas for the imagination, proving that compelling storytelling can create a sense of wonder and exploration as effectively as the most elaborate special effects.

In conclusion, "The Man from Earth" is a hidden gem within the science fiction genre that offers a refreshing departure from its more conventional counterparts. It's a testament to the power of narrative and the enduring appeal of the human story. For those in search of a film that challenges the mind and sparks deep reflection, "The Man from Earth" is an absolute must-watch.