As a human male grown to maturity, I am not the target demographic for "The Space Between Us." Judging from the trailers, I would have thought the demo would be teenagers, spinsters or possibly cats left at home with the television on. Instead, I now believe the film is for no one. It should be floating through the ether like a skinny little Martian boy, desperate for love, finding Earth to be only hostile and colder than the infinite vacuum of space.
"The Space Between Us" is a film in the same way a greeting card is a novel or a bicycle is an airplane. There is nothing coherent here to make a movie with, other than a couple fairly nice performances by Gary Oldman (who is on a bit of a streak of terrible movies), Carla Gugino and Britt Robertson. Really, the three of them are just standing in a dumpster as it burns, hoping we ignore the flames and stare at their jazz hands.
Asa Butterfield ("Enders Game" & "Hugo") plays Gardner Elliot, a 16-year-old boy born on Mars to an astronaut who flew there while pregnant. She dies in childbirth and the company that sent her there lies about Gardner's existence, so he's stuck on Mars because his organs and bones would kill him on Earth. He is raised by a robot companion and a nice astronaut played by Gugino. Gardner falls in love with a girl from Earth named Tulsa (Robertson) and is finally allowed to go there after some scientists put metal rods in his gangly, sickly bones. He teams up with Tulsa to be stupid and pointless while searching for the father he never knew.
Butterfield is terrible in this. Like, career-killing flat and boring non-entity bad—but he's not done any favors from a script that has him constantly act like a sullen teenager. Are you telling me that even if someone is raised on an entirely different planet than Earth, they're still going to be a dick when they're 16? Even without access to the Internet? Huh. Once he gets to Earth, Gardner's heart grows too large for him to survive (Get it? Ugh.). Instead of waiting for medical treatment, he runs away to search for Tulsa and his dad. All it would have taken was one moment in the film where he listens to the people trying to help him and the movie could have been a satisfying 15 minutes long. Instead, he runs and I spent two hours rooting for his heart to explode. All I wanted was to walk out of "The Space Between Us" and find something better to do, such as pondering the vastness of the universe or questioning my life choices. Instead, just like poor, weak Gardner, my heart was just too big to walk away and I almost died.
The Space Between Us
Dir. Peter Chelsom
Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX