THE SPACE BETWEEN US is labeled as an adventure/drama/romance, and it certainly does have all those elements in the movie. Whether those labels make it stand out to its target audience, well, that’s a different story.
The Space Between Us takes place sometime in the near future and tells the story of a young teenage boy named Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) who was born on Mars. Raised by all of 14 people on the Mars settlement, he’s desperate to go to Earth and find his father. Health complications (due to him being born and raised on the red planet) have prevented him from leaving Mars, until they figure out a way for him to visit, on a temporary basis.
But Gardner has other plans when he finally arrives. Having struck up an online friendship with a girl named Tulsa (Britt Robertson), he decides to eschew his restrictions, much to the dismay of his guardian Kendra (Carla Gugino) and the well-meaning Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman), and go see her. He does so in the hopes that she can help him find his father.
After watching the movie, I had a few thoughts on the possibility of this happening. Certainly, there are probably true stories that are stranger than something like this. However, despite that fact, it takes a lot to swallow this pill, especially when you mix science with science-fiction, or realistic fiction with a completely far-fetched storyline.
There’s a lot of things that happen that the screenwriter and the director pretty much just hope that people will suspend disbelief to enjoy the adventure. Sure, on paper it sounds like a crazy, amazing adventure. On film, well, it just feels like they just randomly took ideas to make it convenient for the main characters.
However, let me be honest. If I were 13-years-old, I’d probably love this movie to death. The two main characters are teenagers that go on a journey, without adult supervision, and fall in love. It’s them against the world, basically. Plus, the world is a beautiful backdrop to several of the locations the movie is set in. So, why wouldn’t my young teenage self love it?
But as an adult, many of us are less forgiving of such far-fetched stories. We’ve learned and grown and seen too much to just accept what’s shown in front of us, especially these days in our cynical society. The ending is probably the biggest issue I have with the film, because I am an adult and I know how things work. But then again, I loved the movie Space Camp when I was kid. (See what I mean?!)
As for the actors, I can’t really find fault with them. However, I did feel that Asa Butterfield’s portrayal of Gardner Elliot was more on the borderline of a person on the autistic spectrum than someone who hasn’t had much socialization.
As for Gary Oldman, he’s often played characters that are a little off-kilter, or in such a way as can be construed as overacted. I found that to be the case with his character here, and not in a good way.
Still, The Space Between Us can be fun to watch. It does try to remind us there are still things to love about life and to not take it for granted. But only if you can set aside your cynicism and skip over the bureaucracies of many of the events that happen. Or if you’re a 13-year-old romantic.
The Space Between Us lands in theaters tomorrow.