Movie Review: “The Space Between Us” has some Weird Spaces

Movie Review: “The Space Between Us” has some Weird Spaces
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Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville nearly 20 years. Currently, he studies Journalism at Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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If you’re looking for the weirdest new movie now playing in theatres, look no further than The Space Between Us. Equal parts teen romance, sci-fi disaster, medical drama, political thriller and road trip adventure movie, it’s highly enjoyable for a narrow audience. But if it’s your cup of tea, Space is far more enjoyable than it should be.

This small target audience, unsurprisingly, is anyone between the ages of 13-18, with the strong themes of adolescent discovery, young love and making a name for yourself. (This age group also has a high tolerance for corny dialogue and story coherence; a useful asset here.)

Normally, so much happening in a movie would  be a red flag, though it’s forgivable if you abandon hope of common sense. The entertainment value is often high enough that it doesn’t matter how dorky, strange, or totally unrealistic the action gets.

The extravagant (and original) premise focuses on the first mission to send colonized humans to Mars is complicated when the captain is discovered to be pregnant, and dies in childbirth upon landing on the red planet.

But the rest of the movie shifts 16 years later, when the child (named Gardner Elliot, played by Asa Butterfield) befriends a teenage girl in Colorado, and he travels to Earth to meet her, find his father, and learn about the home he’s never known.

There’s several plot shifts over the extensive two hours, and most of it is more fun than boring or needlessly stupid. But that’s not including the oddly strange and cringeworthy final 20 minutes, and that threshold is variable depending on the audience member.

Photo credit: STX Entertainment.

Teenagers are clearly the ones who will identify with the action, heart, and eagerness to please that The Space Between Us routinely features. They’ll also take an easy liking to the earnest chemistry between travel buddies/love interests Butterfield and Britt Robinson. Neither performer does anything special, but they work well together.

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I am far outside this teenage demographic, yet found myself gleefully chuckling more often than rolling my eyes. This is a rare case where I enjoyed the movie more than I can imagine most adults would.

It’s great first date material,  a harmless distraction at the movies, and it’s better produced and more engaging than 98% of teen flicks. As a warning, despite the youthful glow and silly plot, this is definitely not a movie for small children. There is occasionally adult language, graphic (but not frightening) images and mild sexual activity that makes this inappropriate for children.

The only thing adults might smile at are nods to some classic Hollywood scenes, referencing movies like North by Northwest and Wings of Desire. And then there’s a clever bit where Gardner eats a Mars chocolate bar shortly after arriving on Earth. That’s just one example of the eclectic mix offered.

Anyone over 12 will take it in stride, and this is a movie clearly made for them. With all the rollover movies from January and last year, there’s definitely space for this astronomical romance. But it’s a small, and for most people this one that can stay lost in the stars.

The Space Between Us
2 1/2 out of 4 stars.

PG, 121 minutes. Sci-Fi Romance.
Directed by Peter Chelsom.
Starring Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, and Gary Oldman.
Now Playing at Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.

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