The Space Between Us is cheesy and cute and while it has experienced a series of delays from August to December to now, it seems more so to avoid serious competition than because it is a terrible movie.
Gardner (Asa Butterfield) | Tulsa (Britt Robertson) | Kendra (Carla Gugino)
Characters & Storyline
After his mother’s death when he was born, Gardner spent most of his life on Mars wondering what it would be like to live on Earth. What it would be like to feel fire, authentic water, and feel the wind. Something he is not allowed to do because his body, as the trailers made clear, couldn’t handle being on Earth. Though, it isn’t only that. His birth is a secret and with the comes him generally being treated as such.
However, what is a 16-year-old raised by scientist to do when his whole world only stretches the couple of miles where his Mars habitat is? Well, through the power of the internet, he finds a girl to talk to. Said girl, Tulsa, is your run of the mill foster kid. One with crappy foster parents, a bit rough around the edges, yet this boy gives her hope. So, in return, when Gardner is granted his wish to get to Earth, she helps him find the father who he believes doesn’t know he existed. All the while, he falls in love with this girl and they mutually teach each other what love is.
Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
- While we meet Gardner’s dad, I was kind of wondering why we didn’t meet who Kendra, who raised Gardner, used to be married to. I feel like, considering how women are in this movie, it would have been nice if she had a life outside of Gardner in some way.
- If you aren’t into cheesy and sappy movies, which are focus more so on being cute than realistic, in terms of romance, this movie is not for you.
- The movie is set sometime around 2034.
The Romantic Plot Is Cute
Being that Gardner is experiencing everything for the first time and Tulsa has experienced everything terrible in life at least once, well outside of things which would require trigger warnings, it was nice to see these two together. Garnder gave Tulsa hope, a taste of love, and she was able to bring him to reality. But rather than do so in a mean, sort of knock him off his branch kind of way, she, often flabbergasted tried to explain the way the world was as she came to accept she liked his viewpoint on things. Also with how everything was new to him to the point it seemingly became new to her as well.
The Visuals Of Earth And Colorado
Similar to Hit The Road: India, the landscapes are such a highlight and seeing the world in a way which almost makes you feel the wonder Gardner has.
Butterfield Made an Odd Character into Something More
There is a certain awkwardness, the ability to seem like a person who spent their life being an “Other” which is what draws me to Butterfield. His own brand of quirkiness is all about bringing this sheltered, and often yearning for adventure characters to life. Something he does splendidly with Gardner to the point it makes you think he could do well with a few more romance movies under his belt.
The Women in This Film – Their Lives All Revolve and Are For Gardner
One of the things which really bothered me about this movie is that despite all these plans Tulsa seemingly had when it came to getting away from her foster dad, going to school for music, and really having a go at that dream, pretty much we don’t see that side of her at all. Only in one scene, at some type of warehouse store, do we hear her sing and play an instrument. Outside of that, it is all Gardner all the time and just being his love interest.
The same issue applies to Kendra. She is a scientist who spent 6 or so years on Mars and not only dedicated her life to her work but also raising Gardner. I found it to be so ridiculous that upon returning to Earth, they didn’t hardly dedicate any of her time toward maybe checking out her ex-husband, maybe explaining why, unless it was to continue playing mom, she decided to go to Earth and, in general, with the women of this film I just wanted them to have some sort of autonomy. Some sort of sign or signal that their lives have meaning outside of worrying about Gardner.
On The Fence
Your Usual Scrappy Foster Kid (Who Knows How To Survive By Lying and Stealing)
Noting what I just said, I found it so interesting that with the little information we are given about Tulsa, with her being in multiple foster homes, disappointed many times over, and having a drunk for a step dad, that she couldn’t have been made less of a stereotype. I mean, and maybe Callie on The Fosters has set the tone for me, alongside the handful of foster kids I’ve met, but the scrappy foster kid who can easily justify stealing and lying, seems to find trouble easily, and is highly adaptable, just seems a bit too normalized. Not to say I wanted something darker or even some happy go lucky family worried about their little girl out there with some strange boy who says he is from Mars. It’s just, one of the main issues with this film is that no one seems that complicated even as they note how they can’t have kids, their mom died, and things of that nature. It is like, the weight of anyone’s problems is not felt and everyone’s personality is such a trope that if it wasn’t for Butterfield and Robertson’s chemistry, this movie would be horrible.
Overall: Mixed (TV Viewing)
In the theater, I was mentally going back and forth between saying this was “Positive (Worth Seeing)” and mixed. Yet, one of the main things which tipped the scale is not only do I not imagine myself feeling the desire to watch this again, but also because it doesn’t really give you a reason to. The romance that I praise is cute but not awe inspiring, the story may have all these characters with some kind of tragedy yet you never feel them put the weight of their life on you. Then, to top it off, the women who like and love Gardner aren’t allowed or developed into full people. Tulsa doesn’t really evolve past being the girlfriend and she ends up seemingly abandoning her dream to be and do things with Gardner. Then with Kendra, she never evolves past being a surrogate mom and, like Tulsa, where she is at the end of the movie is so frustrating for even then, as Kendra works at training astronauts, it seems she is given some slap together ending and Tulsa still isn’t pursuing her music.