There are sometimes movies that get a lot of flak from critics but are still worth watching. The Space Between Us is one of those films as it has an 18% Rotten Tomatoes rating and a negative review on BagoGames.
I actually liked this teen-romantic movie and while it has eye-rolling cliches and a fish-out-of-water plotline, The Space Between Us does a few things differently alongside a stellar cast and funny writing.
If you are unaware, The Space Between Us tells a unique story about a boy who is born on a colonized Mars by a series of unexpected events. Drama unfolds as 16-year-old Gardner (played by Asa Butterfield) becomes curious about his parents and grows fascinated with Earth. Since he’s finally grown up, NASA has decided that it’s time to make an attempt to bring him back. It’s at this point when Gardner manages to escape. Guess what this turns into though? A road trip movie, and it gives a romanticization of the world around us; something that is hard to think about in modern times. There are plenty of magical things all around us that we may take for granted, but Gardner doesn’t make this mistake.
I think the most important aspect of a movie is its fun factor or how compelling the narrative can be. Butterfield plays an awkward teenager, who was stuck in a world full of scientists and decades old movies. His character brings a lot of comedy and during the screening I was at, the audience was laughing. For example, Gardner opens the car door for his love interest, Tulsa (played by Britt Roberston) in an old fashioned style, which makes you cringe and laugh at the same time. His mannerisms, like the way he walks, and attire also sell the character very well. Tulsa is the complete opposite to Gardner. She is one who has lost interest in the world but as the film carries on, it’s nice to see her progression.
Sure, it’s the standard teen movie “I don’t give a damn about the world” kind of character, but the two lead characters play off together well. Tension is built in an effective way as well towards the end of the movie, but I won’t spoil it. I was suckered in, despite the obvious tropes of the genre that are present. The concept alone is intriguing and pulled me through during this road trip adventure. The movie wraps in a neatly woven way except for one hamfisted line that doesn’t feel natural.
Despite The Space Between Us being a teen movie, the cast is quite stellar. Gary Oldman is fantastic in this movie. He plays a frustrated character who is suffering from past wrongs and a death he’s had to process and deal with. Carla Gugino is a scientist named Kendra Wyndham. She plays the motherly role in an effective and meaningful way, especially during her arguments with Oldman’s character, Nathaniel Shepard.
This science-fiction flick actually has some pretty good special effects. The scenes on Mars are just as convincing as The Martian and the scenes in space look convincing as well. Other than some strange looking fire effects from rockets taking off into space, this film looks great. Scenes from The Space Between Us could be ripped right out of a tourism commercial for the U.S. It’s bright, fanciful, and as I previously mentioned, a welcome showing of the United States, which has been sighted as a hellhole as of recent. Do some of the scenes feel forced? Sure. But I couldn’t help but love the scenery that the film is set in and its breathtaking cinematography. For most this wouldn’t be that important, but as it’s a film based on a character who’s exploring Earth for the first time in his life, this does have an impact.
Overall, The Space Between Us is flawed but it’s still enjoyable. Even though it has cliches from the genre it has funny dialogue, a fresh take for a fish-out-of water narrative, and a stellar cast of actors. Don’t miss this one because of the bad reviews! Check it out and see what you think!