This week brings wonder from director Peter Chelsom and STX Entertainment with a look at the world when there is “The Space Between Us.”
As a space shuttle takes flight on its first mission to colonize Mars, one of the astronauts is carrying something unexpected. The Earth team led by Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman) must decide whether to turn the mission around or continue. That is how Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) came to be the first human being born on Mars.
This is no ordinary young man. Besides being born on Mars, he is a very intelligent young man who accepts his life. That is until he uses the technology to reach farther and becomes acquainted with Tulsa (Britt Robertson), a young girl living an extraordinary life of her own.
Their online friendship holds many secrets from each of them and Gardner wants answers that his fellow Martian Kendra (Carla Gugino) can’t give him. Making the expected journey back to Earth, it quickly becomes apparent that Gardner’s heart can not handle our gravity.
Gardner isn’t about to go anywhere without doing a few important things including learning about his mother, finding out who is father is and meeting Tulsa face to face. Not an expert on the social graces, he is a little unnerved at the behavior of his fellow humans, including that of a surprised Tulsa.
Yet these two still manage an adventure like no other and although Shepherd and Kendra are hot on their trail, it isn’t stopping Gardner and Tulsa from experiencing life through each other’s eyes.
Together they are seeing the world before time runs out.
Butterfield as Gardner is perfect for this role because he has the soft spoken demeanor and the inquisitive expression needed to make us believe he is from Mars. Yet he also has the teenage curiosity to a ridiculous degree — I mean, come on, he’s on another planet entirely. Teenagers on Earth rebel in a totally different way than Gardner and Butterfield portrays him beautifully.
Robertson as Tulsa is a young girl with problems of her own wanting to get away from a life holding her down. Upset with Butterfield’s character for a bit, she recovers quickly when she finally knows his secrets and wants to help him find answers. Robertson takes her character and gives it spunk and the right amount of adventure seeking to be the yang to Gardner’s yin.
Gugino as Kendra has known Gardner all of his life and is probably the closest thing to a mother figure he has ever known. Wanting to make things easier for him includes letting the adventure he is on go as far as it can before having to step in. Gugino has the ability to make us care through her characters and she does so again quite well.
Oldman as Shepherd is a man who thinks only of the Mars project. Obsessed with getting it off the ground, he then retreats away closing off letting others take the reigns. When Gardner comes to Earth, he has answers but doesn’t seem eager to share them with the young teen yet he is the first to go chasing when Gardner takes off. There is a scene where Oldman walks down a road with his hair floating in the wind and I swear every woman in the audience sighed so loud, that’s the kind of effect this actor still has on us!
Other cast include BD Wong as Genesis Director Chen, Peter Chelsom as the voice of Centaur, Jenny Gabrielle as Susanne, Lauren Meyers as Alice, Scot Takeda as Dr. Loh, Danny Winn as Dr. Cox and Adande Thorne as Scott Hubbard.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “The Space Between Us” three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This film is very sweet and with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this wouldn’t be a bad hand-holding-sharing-popcorn-and-a-tissue warm up.
The film is beautifully done with the shots of space and Mars, which should entice those who love anything outside Earth’s atmosphere. The story is filled with all the innocence and wonder of young teenage love but for reasons not all too common. There are twists and turns to the story that are pretty cool.
If “The Space Between Us” teaches us anything, it is that whether you are born on Mars or on Earth, it is what moves us that makes life worth everything. Also, this film takes the phrase long-distance-relationship a tad farther than most of us would dare to dream of. The two young actors really do let their characters lead them and I certainly didn’t mind the ride.
In the end — what is your favorite thing about Earth?