The Space Between Us
Directed by Peter Chelsom
Released February 3, 2017
There is something incredibly intriguing and alluring about exploring the galaxy. Most people spend their entire lives on Earth, and precious few get to venture into space and truly understand what exists beyond just our planet. Numerous missions to space, to the moon, and to investigate other planets have been undertaken, and many science fiction films depict futures where the only possible option for humanity’s survival is to populate another planet. That notion, and an unexpected consequence of such a migration, is explored in the new film “The Space Between Us.”
Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman) is a scientist working with NASA who determines that the best hope for the human race is to send a mission to begin to colonize Mars. While in space, mission leader Sarah Elliot (Janet Montgomery) discovers that she is pregnant. Gardner (Asa Butterfield) is born in East Texas, the first human settlement on Mars, and grows up there in secret since the death of his mother in childbirth is not something that has been publicized for fear of jeopardizing the future of Mars as the last outpost of civilization. Gardner’s inevitable journey to Earth, motivated by his desire to find his father and meet Tulsa (Britt Robertson), the girl that he has been videochatting with us under the guise of being confined to a Park Avenue penthouse, is an epic voyage that deeply affects all those who know and meet him.
The concept of someone being born on another planet opens the door for a number of complications, like organs that function differently when subjected to another gravity and a high level of intelligence due to being raised by scientists, a fact Gardner sarcastically states multiple times throughout the film. His view of the world differs from Tulsa’s, but they both experience the same loneliness of not being treated the same as others and not being given the opportunity to explore their full potential. When they do eventually meet, the film takes on a new sense of shared wonder as they tackle the massiveness of their experiences together after being so far apart for so long.
Butterfield and Robertson are among the most talented young actors working today, with past credits in “Hugo” and “Tomorrowland,” respectively, and a number of other projects. They both possess exactly the right energy for these roles, and the young adult love story that plays out between them is sweet. Oldman and Carla Gugino, as Gardner’s astronaut mother figure, are fine, but this is ultimately about the two representatives of the future generation. The plot is engaging and involving, and even though it hurtles towards a hokey finish, this science-fiction film proves to be a worthwhile foray into space, certainly not deserving of the mostly very negative reviews it seems to have garnered.
Friday, February 3, 2017
The Space Between Us