Actress Brit Marling stars in and co-wrote the Netflix series The OA. If you are hooked on the enigmatic sci-fi drama and craving another wild tale involving its co-creator and star, while also hoping to gain context for the mind-bending series, this article is for you. Below is information pertaining to three movies starring Marling that’s similarities to The OA might provide crucial insight into figuring out the Netflix hit and its puzzling Season 1 ending.
Warning: Spoilers for Season 1 of The OA lie ahead.
In IMDB‘s profile for the movie, you will find that Another Earth was written by Brit Marling and Mike Cahill, the latter of whom also directed the film. In Another Earth, Marling plays a gifted student, whose distraction with the emergence of “another Earth” causes her to crash her car into another car with a family inside. The husband and father is the only one to survive the accident. Years later, a guilt-ridden Rhoda (Marling) is released from prison and begins trying to make amends with the widowed father.
So what is Another Earth‘s similarity to The OA? In Another Earth, there is as the title suggests “another earth.” On Earth, 2 as it is called, people who are dead on Earth 1, might still be alive on Earth 2, the notion being they exist in a parallel world.
The idea of alternate dimensions is one of the central themes of The OA. Throughout the series, Prairie tells “the five” she recruits that if they perform “the five elements” with perfect feeling, they will travel to another dimension. A dimension she claims contains those who were also held by Hap.
The East comes from an interesting source, the creators of The OA. The East was directed by Zal Batmanglij and co-written by Batmanglij and Brit Marling. The East was their second feature-length collaboration, Sound of My Voice being the first.
The East follows Marling’s character, a private investigator at an elite firm, who is recruited to infiltrate an anarchist group who targets corporations. As “Sarah” (Marling) gets deeper involved with the group, she becomes seduced by one of its members (Alexander Skarsgard).
Similar to The OA, The East explores the influence of a charismatic individual and the experiments they make their followers endure to test their compliance. In The OA, Prairie (Marling) requests that members of “the five” leave their front door open before they come to the abandoned house to hear her story.
In The East, Marling’s character is brought to an abandoned house, where The East run their operation. Before long, they test Sarah by having her attempt to feed herself in a straitjacket.
This test works to accomplish two endeavors. It simultaneously humbles Sarah and breaks her self-confidence, opening the gateway for self-doubt and the group’s influence to creep in. Prairie performs a similar, yet far less malevolent test in The OA by having “the five” leave their front doors open. By doing this, Prairie gets a sense of how far they are willing to go to learn her story.
Mark Cahill and Brit Marling re-teamed for this moody 2014 drama. In I Origins, a scientist (Michael Pitt) goes to great lengths to find a scientific confirmation for a spiritual belief. Unlike, the other aforementioned movies, Marling only starred in I Origins so its connection to The OA solely hinges on Marling starring in both projects.
Warning: Major spoilers for the plot of I Origins follow.
At the conclusion of I Origins, scientific proof surfaces that people are reincarnated. The discovery is the result of retinal scans that reveal currently living people’s eyes, match those who have died. The implication being that people are reincarnated and the new person, whose body they inhabit have the same eye pattern as the deceased, a play on eyes being the windows to the soul.
In The OA, Hap (Jason Isaacs) kidnaps Prairie, Homer (Emory Cohen) and three others who have suffered near-death experiences (“NDEs”), to perform scientific research on them. Using their ability to keep coming back from the dead, he hopes to prove there is an afterlife. The characters in I Origins and The OA both attempt to find scientific evidence to support a spiritual belief, a definite parallel between the two projects.
Another Earth validates alternate dimensions. Will Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij echo that with The OA?
The East authenticates the powerful influence an enigmatic person can have on people. Is Prairie a genuine, yet misguided, storyteller of what she believes to be the truth on The OA? Or is she a knowing manipulator, exploiting people who want to believe, for an as-yet-to-be-disclosed endgame?
I Origins mirrors The OA in that scientific study is evoked in both stories to prove a spiritual belief. In I Origins, it is reincarnation. In The OA, it is life after death. Since I Origins‘ story validates reincarnation, will The OA similarly validate the afterlife with Hap’s study eventually paying off?
Only time and a Season 2 renewal, will tell. Season 1 of The OA is currently available to stream on Netflix. For more clues about The OA and its ending on Inquisitr, click here.
[Featured Image by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Vanity Fair]