Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman) runs the company that is exploring the possibility of colonizing Mars. On one of the voyages, astronaut Sarah Elliot (Janet Montgomery) gives birth to a baby she names Gardner (Asa Butterfield). Gardner, the first human born on Mars grows up knowing only the scientists who live in the Mars colony.
With the gravity of Mars impacting his development, Shepherd and his crew are not sure Gardner could survive the trip back to Earth. Against Shepherd’s wishes, Gardner, now 16 years old, and Kendra Wyndham (Carla Gugino), the woman who raised him, make the voyage to Earth.
Gardner sneaks out of the facility he is being kept in to find Tulsa (Britt Robertson), a girl on Earth he has been chatting with. Tulsa does not know that Gardner is from Mars. He convinces Tulsa to help him find his father (Trey Tucker). As the duo makes make their journey, Shepherd and Kendra are hot on their heels, trying to catch Gardner before anyone can find out who he really is.
The Space Between Us is the story of a boy who has never known anything but life on Mars who wants nothing more than to go to Earth. When he finally gets to Earth, it is everything he imagined and then some.
Asa Butterfield does well as the first Mars-born human. When he returns to Earth, he is only familiar with things on the planet through what he is told by the scientists on Mars and movies he is able to get his hands on from those who travel to Mars. Therefore, when he arrives to Earth, everything is foreign to him. Butterfield shows Gardner’s wide-eyed amazement and unfamiliarity excellently. His innocence and naiveté are present in almost every scene. Britt Robertson, as Gardner’s Earthbound love interest holds up on her end as well. She is rightfully skeptical of everyone around her, having been lied to and neglected from everyone in her life. The two have good chemistry on screen. Gary Oldman’s Richard Branson-esque character gets a little over the top at times, but overall is not bad. He and Carla Gugino are marginal side characters who don’t necessarily get the character development they need. However, their screen time is limited and not the focus of the film.
The story is a little familiar, but with the added twist of the main character coming from another planet. This adds a unique perspective on a classic theme. It also offers a few moments that are particularly funny. You get a fair amount of teenage angst and schmaltzy moments, but those can be forgiven, seeing as it is a teenage love story.
The Space Between Us is an entertaining movie that many teenagers will love. It has enough of a story to it that adults can enjoy it, too. It has its flaws (How did Gardner first contact Tulsa on Earth?), but those be easily overlooked. This is a good choice if you’re looking to get out of the house with your teenagers.