I loved The Man From Earth. The 2007 sci-fi drama is a brilliant film about John, an alleged immortal man confessing his life story to his collegial friends who happen to be experts in a variety of fields conveniently there to somewhat antagonistically poke holes in his story. The film was expertly vague about John’s honesty with the exception of one instance that still could have been fabricated and faked. It was fun to want to believe John’s story but also try and disprove it. Now, ten years later we get The Man From Earth: Holocene, a sequel that is quite enjoyable, but admittedly not as strong as the first classic film. It’s incredibly hard to review a follow-up and not have your feelings tied to the first one, especially if you consider the original film to be borderline masterful. There’s a fine balance between wanting more of the same and needing the story’s direction and characters to change and evolve. For the most part, The Man From Earth: Holocene handles that delicate balance with grace and the issues I have are minor and mostly just reference back to my enjoyment of the first film.
“It forces you to ponder on theology and man’s place in the universe much like its beloved predecessor…”
David Lee Smith returns as John Oldman, now an instructor in Northern California. John is in a seemingly committed relationship with Carolyn, played by Vanessa Williams. For the first time in his impossibly long life, he’s showing signs of aging and his healing factor is significantly slower. Meanwhile, three pesky and inquisitive students figure out John’s secret and investigate the validity of it all. Isabelle, Philip, and Tara (played by Akemi Look, Sterling Knight, and Brittany Curran respectively) are fine in their roles. Brittany Curran is especially great in her role as Tara, however, she has a really weak subplot that has her trying to seduce John that seems kind of pointless and a bit creepy. Isabelle is a Buddhist hippie that kind of leads the group in their sleuthing about, and Philip is the group’s staunch Christian that believes John’s immortality and life experiences are tremendously blasphemous. Giving away anything else would be detrimental to the viewing experience, this film has its fair share of unbelievably clever twists and turns. It forces you to ponder on theology and man’s place in the universe much like its beloved predecessor, while also expanding upon John’s nomadic lifestyle and personal beliefs.