The Space Between Us Movie Review
The Space Between Us Movie Review Metadata
Earthlings have had an obsession with space since the days of cave men. We’ve done films, books, and television shows grossing billions of dollars about everything from epic space battles to alien interactions. Stories both fictional and nonfictional have had fans obsessively soaking up the untapped expansive universe with the ever intriguing backdrop of outer space. Anything set in the grand and unattainable, outer space has an added dimension. It’s almost as if leaving our atmosphere crushes the very constructs that keep up the norm both in story telling and viewing/reading.
Within outer space, other planets also intrigue us to no end. You tell humans that we can only survive on one planet? We’ll prove you wrong and not only try to sustain human life outside of this orbit, but we’ll thrive and repopulate….or at least that’s the goal. It’s the human (American) way. With nonstop threats both ecological and environmental on Earth, moving from Earth to one planet in particular has become our escape plan. Mars is our get out of jail free card. What if we succumb to our own environmental sins on Earth leaving this planet inhabitable? The plan scientists have created involves moving as many of us as possible to Mars in order to preserve humanity; thus creating colonies and continuing off of earth so our species does not die out. We messed up Earth so let’s give Mars a go.
In The Space Between Us, brilliant astronaut, Sarah Elliott embarks on the Space Launch System to live on Mars, the whole world is cheering her on. Only a few weeks in to being on the shuttle does she realize that she’s pregnant. When she gives birth on Mars, things go terribly wrong and she dies. Her son, however, survives. Gardner Elliott (Asa Butterfield) is the world’s first and only Martian. Due to the major oversight by NASA that is Gardner, they decide not to inform the public of his birth. No one knows of his existence outside of those few scientists who live with him.
Fast forward 16 years, Gardner has been raised on Mars by some of the most intelligent minds on the planet. He’s smart, curious and surrounded by adults on an technologically advanced (ship?) home with nothing but a personal robot in terms of friendships. He’s lonely, even more so than your typical 16 year old. Gardner finds solace in his secret internet friend with whom he regularly video chats with. When we as the viewer enter this world, their friendship is already established and going strong. His online friendship with high school senior, Tulsa (her screen/nickname) played by Britt Robertson is one out of the page for teenage misfits. She too, is lonely and anxious but more so to get out of her small town in Colorado and he’s anxious to leave Mars to be with other humans on Earth. They confide in one another, divulging personal information in ways that only online friends can do.
When Gardner finally gets a chance to go down to Earth and meet Tulsa in real life, they go on an adventure across country in order to find his father and leave the ever ominous adults in their lives, behind. The issue (because there always is one) is that Gardner’s heart is too big for his body (both literally and figuratively). Essentially he can not live with our gravitational pull and time is running out.
The Space Between Us is pure and sweet. While space and Mars have been discussed in film thousands of time, this was a different perspective in that Gardner is the outsider on Earth and wants to be here, as much as many of us want to be there. He sees the world through a new pair of (very bright blue) eyes and it’s quite endearing to watch. To see a character with no malice and a genuine curiosity as to how the world works (a nice change of pace from the typical angst-y teen character who knows everything about everything) was quite pleasant. The continuous question throughout the film was Gardner asking people he encountered “what’s your favorite thing about earth?”. Butterfield plays Gardner with a gentleness and sincerity that could have easily swung towards silly or too aloof but is reigned in like only a true actor can portray.
Tulsa, the tough cookie who is not used to Gardner’s unabashed personality and proclamations of love and in some ways their interactions are that of a Martian and earthling but despite the space between them, there’s no one that understands Gardner like Tulsa, and vice versa.