The Space Between Us
Starring Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, BD Wong, Colin Egglesfield
Director Peter Chelsom has had an interestingly feel good career behind the camera. He first caught my attention when he cast Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) into a strange and unusual supporting role with Sharon Stone in The Mighty (1998). His other feel good movies Town & Country, Serendipity and Shall We Dance barely registered. The Space Between Us is one of the bigger budget films Chelsom has been involved in. Although his feel-good theme runs through here as well. Outer space a hot commodity right now in the cinematic universe; this part teenage love story, part futuristic life on Mars flick manages to stay away from a lot of stereotypes. Calling it sweet feels like pity, but that’s where The Space Between Us lands.
Nathaniel Shepherd (Oldman) has created a program for NASA called Genesis that has not only sent astronauts to Mars, but has them living there. Captain Sarah Elliot (Janet Montgomery) discovers she is pregnant before her team even touches down on the red planet in 2018. Shepherd and his team reluctantly vote to keep the child’s birth and existence classified. Garder (Butterfield) is the first human born on Mars and grows up living in a bubble, raised by scientists. At age 16, in the year 2034, he has made a connection with a teenager in Colorado that he desperately wants to visit, and see what Earth feels like. His birth outside Earth’s atmosphere resulted in an enlarged heart and other complications, which make life on Earth nearly impossible. Gardner is willing to risk everything to find out who his father is and meet the girl of his dreams.
Part teenage love story, part futuristic life on Mars flick manages to stay away from a lot of stereotypes.
There is both a dramatic (sometimes overly) side to this film as well as a fun side, the films music is your guide on how to feel. The story wants to ground itself in plausibility and does a decent job at selling the audience believable futuristic space endeavors. Where the films weaves in and out of realty has more to do with, how did these teens on the run get a Sam’s card, or why are cars to easy to steal, or why does a barn explode like it has nuclear weapons inside. Much of the romantic stuff, especially when paired with Gardner’s medical issues is highly overstated and too melodramatic. The Space Between Us is at its best when the characters are allowed to enjoy their awkward chemistry between the chasing and thrill moments.
Whether you can buy into what this movie is selling, one thing is for sure, Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game, Hugo) has come a long way. At 19-years-old his charisma and smile is euphoric, and he naturally awkward nature is perfectly exploited here. Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight) is somewhat miscast, but his talents and presence help elevate an otherwise star-less picture. Britt Robertson however, steps back into The Longest Ride, Tomorrowland type role she has become typecast in. The Space Between Us makes great use of New Mexico with the famous hot balloon festival coloring the sky and the stunning (although likely visually aided) yellow foliage trees in rural Colorado. The film tries to parlay some of its suspense into Garland’s hunt for his father, but astute viewers will be able to call that mystery in the first scene.
Cute best describes this love story told on two different planets.