Asa Butterfield Gary Oldman Britt Robertson Karla Gugino BD Wong Janet Montgomery
The Space between Us will surprise and delight you every step of the way. It starts with the clever—but not too clever—script (Allan Loeb, Stewart Schill, Richard Barton Lewis), then directed almost perfectly by Peter Chelsom, and acted to a tee by Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Gary Oldman, Karla Gugino, and the rest of the cast. The musical score by Andrew Lockington is lyrical and provocative for each scene, and Barry Peterson’s cinematography captures all the beauty of the New Mexican landscape (sometimes with the Albuquerque balloons overhead), the colorful topography of Mars with the clean lines of its space station, and close-ups of the expressive faces of the actors.
The engaging story starts with the high hopes of the company Genesis and its East Texas mission to put six astronauts on Mars for a long period of time. Genesis’ founder Nathaniel Shepherd (Oldman) regards the mission as a proud father would his child. The lead astronaut, Sarah Elliot, eloquently answers the question from press about whether she is afraid, when she acknowledges she is, but she has courage, and “courage is fear that has said its prayers.”
Unfortunately, sometime after the successful engagement with Mars, Sarah has morning sickness. Horrors! She is pregnant, and those in command have to come up with a plan. This is where Shepherd steps up and makes the decision to keep the information classified. The doctor on board will deliver her baby, and then they’ll decide what to do after that. They are aware that the consequences of a baby in utero developing in zero gravity conditions are unknown.
In addition, scientists in such a situation are not always mindful of human factors that can enter into these circumstances. For instance, after sixteen years go by, Gardner Elliot is a bright, inquisitive teenager who is going through an identity crisis. Neither his mother or his father is on board at this point; instead, an astronaut named Kendra (Gugino) is looking after him. But he wants to know who he is, and realizes that he needs to go to Earth to find out.
Most of the rest of the story is about this journey filled with tender gaffes and outright comedic situations. Gardner has started an online friendship with Tulsa (Robertson), a cheeky, talented earth-girl who has been orphaned and placed in foster homes so many times she knows more about life than her foster “parents.” He is determined to find her and get her help in finding his father.
Much of the wit of the film is seeing the jaded Tulsa meeting the sincere Gardner, and trying to comprehend who he is (Ah, he is from Mars!) and helping him understand earth and its customs.
I loved the constant plane/bus/stolen automobile chases—that mimic action films with their mandatory loud car chases—with Shepherd and Kendra always trying to locate the runaways Gardner and Tulsa. This intelligent, well crafted and presented “action” film should please everyone.
Everything fits together so beautifully in this film, you want to cheer at the end.
Grade: A By Donna R. Copeland