Review: The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us
5 10
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PLOT: An astronaut on the first mission to mars becomes pregnant, and gives birth to a son, dying in the process. Sixteen years later, the now-grown boy (Asa Butterfield), whose body has adapted to Mars’s gravity, is brought back to Earth, a planet which can no longer sustain him. Eager to experience his true home and to connect with the teen (Britt Robertson) he’s been communicating with online, he goes on the lamb, being chased by the astronaut who raised him (Carla Gugino) and one of NASA’s top scientists (Gary Oldman).

REVIEW: That THE SPACE BETWEEN US is an utterly silly film shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, coming from the writer of COLLATERAL BEAUTY. Allan Loeb is a talented writer (his THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE is a gem) but something seems lost in the translation to the big screen as far as his high-concept screenplays go, and this Mars-yarn is only marginally less silly than that recent, infamous Will Smith-starrer.

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Asa Butterfield is actually quite well-cast as the Mars-dwelling lead. Having an certain otherworldly quality, with his six-foot height exaggerated to make him look even taller, he really does evoke a “young John Cusack from Mars,” something apropos for the concept. Too bad it gets so bogged down with silly plot twists that are telegraphed right from the get-go and should have been acknowledged much earlier (a similar problem to BEAUTY).

One of the hardest things to get over is that NASA, having presumably invested billions in their Mars mission, wouldn’t have given the commander a pregnancy test pre-flight. It’s also hard to swallow that the presumably much-documented crew would be able to hide that they’ve been raising a precocious teen. His return to Earth is similarly too simple, and the science behind his earth experience seems questionable at best.

All this wouldn’t have mattered had other things worked, specifically the relationship between Butterfield and Britt Robertson who, at the risk of sounding cruel, is seven years too old to be playing his eighteen year old love interest. They seem like a truly odd romantic pair, with the boyish Butterfield and the very grown-up Robertson having zero chemistry. She seems more like his big sister, which makes the romantic detours kinda gross, and their love scene ranks among the most uncomfortable in recent memory.

space between us asa butterfield

It’s too bad because director Peter Chelsom seems keen on making this a road movie in the vein of Wim Wenders, with cuts to WINGS OF DESIRE just to prove his intent, but being shackled into a YA fantasy, it’s more like the American CITY OF ANGELS remake. The B-story, where Gary Oldman (whose interest in Butterfield is painfully easy to figure out) and Gugino give chase is actually more interesting than what’s happening with the “kids”, and it’s always a shame when Oldman gets sidelined, as he should still be playing leads. Some of the chase sequences are unintentionally hilarious, with a scene where a crop-duster immediately blows up a warehouse getting titters from the audience, along with the fact that into the 2030’s, NASA scientists are still using 2016 Apple Laptops (although we do get glimpses of some fancy transparent computers and self-driving cars).

Despite how silly it all is, there are things about THE SPACE BETWEEN US that work, such as Butterfield and Oldman’s scenery chewing, along with a musical score by Andrew Lockington which is really good when not being sidelined for bad pop music. At two hours, it’s not painful to sit through, but it’s goofy and not anything worth going out of your way to check out, making this, I guess, a typical winter release.

Source: JoBlo.com



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