Movie Review
The Space Between Us:The Filmmaker and the Viewer

Screenplay & Story: Allan Loeb Story by: Stewart Schill and Richard B Lewis 

What if I tell you a story about a boy who is born and brought up in Mars and at the age of sixteen, he gets the opportunity to visit the planet Earth for the first time? Would you be excited to see his psyche, his unusual way of reacting to everything, his wavering attention to every object of the planet? Basically, you would be excited to live his experience through a film. That’s what The Space Between Us tries to do. It tries to ignite in you that excitement to live his life. Somehow, that excitement never actually builds up to its fullest. You get excited in bits and pieces but the moment you realize that it looks unbelievable or illogical, you prefer to let it go.

“I'm convinced that sending people to Mars is so expensive that if you go once and bring the people back and then go again and bring the people back, we're eventually going to run out of money. But what if we send people the first time and they don't come back? What if they stay there?”

Buzz Aldrin made that statement in 2010 and the planning to colonize Mars has been going for many years now. The film is set in near future, when the first mission to settle in Mars is being executed. The movie takes a turn when Sarah Elliot, the lead astronaut of that mission, is found pregnant during the journey after four months of leaving the Earth. The mission is not called off. They land at Mars and she gives birth there. While giving birth, she dies. And that’s how the story of Gardener Elliot begins, after 16 years of time leap in the film, we see a teenager living in a bubble, raised by scientists.

It’s a story that should have made a huge impact. It’s a very well-thought plot but fails in execution. Some of the very obvious facts were not at all taken care of. When Sarah gives birth, the baby doesn’t cry. His eyes is wide open, as if the birth trauma is just a concept. Sarah who just has given birth, holds the baby so comfortably, not at all feeling lethargic. And the very next moment something happens to her and she dies while we keep wondering what was that. We can still ignore these minor but obvious details but we cannot ignore the fact that Gardner has been shown talking to a girl on Earth. Of all the humans, why only her? He is not in contact with any other human on Earth. How is he in contact with her? It is left completely unexplained.

After a lot of arguments, he finally arrives on Earth, while he does show some wonder in his eyes, you don’t really feel him. He then escapes from the NASA bubble and enters the city. Some of the things are well captured here like when he gets acquainted with newer objects like fellow human beings, vehicles and dogs. He meets the girl Tulsa and convinces her to help him find his father whom he has seen in a video with his mother. These two teenagers set out on an adventurous trip running away from Nathaniel, the head of the Mars mission and Kendra, his guardian at Mars. Gardner and Tulsa hire cars, do shopping, escape from a hospital and even steal a car so easily and so obviously that you wonder how smart these kids are, or how stupid the world is.

In the latter half, the movie becomes more of a romantic than a sci-fi. Though, sci-fi element does remain. There’s a scene where Nathaniel crosses the Stratosphere with a normal private jet. Well, I am not scientifically tuned but I have never heard that happening. It looked unbelievable though. The end does have some revelations, most of which you would have already guessed by now while watching. But lots of things prove to be absurd. Hollywood’s obsession with happy ending is annoying. This movie deserved a sad ending to create atleast a small impact. Also, in the end, (spoilers ahead, as if any) Sarah is convinced by Kendra to train her to be an astronaut so that she can spend her life with Gardner. Seriously?? How do you train someone to be an astronaut if he/she hasn’t done the basic studies yet. And what a reason! She is becoming astronaut to meet her boyfriend. Woah!

There’s a film called Room which earned many nominations at Oscars last year. It’s a story of a child who is stuck in a room with his mother and has never seen the outer world. When he steps out, you actually feel him. His every reaction, his psyche, his being or not being able to cope up with things around him. You feel everything and you connect to it very well. That’s exactly where The Space Between Us fails. It fails in connecting the viewer. And I guess that’s what movies are all about: being able to connect with the viewer.                                                                                                                                     

   Prakhar Khare

Prakhar is film and music reviewer and a film student at Whistling Woods International..

Click here to Top