REVIEW: The Space Between Us

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Review by Dustin Heller

The Space Between Us is the new young adult sci-fi drama from director Peter Chelsom.  Chelsom’s previous work includes Hector and the Search for HappinessSerendipity, and Shall We Dance?.  The film stars Asa ButterfieldBritt RobertsonGary Oldman, and Carla Gugino.  The Space Between Us is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for brief sensuality and language.

NASA is sending a group of astronauts on a pioneer mission to live life on Mars over the course of four years.  The leader of the mission is Sarah Elliot, who finds out she is pregnant en route to Mars.  Sarah gives birth to a baby boy named Gardner (Butterfield) but ends up dying during childbirth.  Due to the atmosphere of Mars, Gardner is forced to stay there because his bones and heart wouldn’t be able to withstand the gravitational pull on Earth.

Gardner is raised by scientists, so he knows how to figure things out and he forms an online relationship with a teenage girl on Earth named Tulsa (Robertson).  Tulsa is an orphan who has trust issues and doesn’t really fit in anywhere.  Now that Gardner has turned 16 years old, he is given the chance to visit Earth, but he’s not allowed to truly experience it.  Eager to see this new world, he breaks out of his holding tank and meets up with Tulsa, and the two of them experience as much of Earth as possible while searching for Gardner’s father.

The Space Between Us had the misfortune of being the first movie I’d seen since returning from the Sundance Film Festival last week.  Needless to say, the quality didn’t remotely measure up to what I saw in Park City, but that’s not a fair comparison out of the gate.

First off, let me say that The Space Between Us is quite possibly one of the worst screenplay’s I’ve ever seen put to film.  If you told me a 13-year-old girl wrote the screenplay, I’d say that makes perfect sense.  I can’t tell you how many times I caught myself shaking my head in disbelief of how convenient everything was for these characters.  This high school girl is more efficient and resourceful than James Bond and MacGyver put together.

Aside from that, the whole thing was just downright stupid and unbelievable.  I couldn’t get out of the theater fast enough once it was over.  One thing that was somewhat surprising was how they got such a formidable cast with such a stinker of a script.  Gary Oldman is great in everything he does and he gives it his all here with very little to work with.

The Space Between Us is a movie that I wish I’d never wasted my time with and hope to never have to revisit again.  I wouldn’t recommend anyone to waste their hard-earned money on this dud.

Grade:  D-

The Space Between Us opens in theaters on Friday, February 3