The Space Between Us (2017)

The Space Between Us (2017) Cover

Had The Space Between Us built a cohesive story it may have been watchable. A reliance on incoherent coincidence, cheesy jokes, and generic teen drama undermine the good. What’s left is a story that may not offend audiences, but will bore them by halfway through.

A teen drama about a young man raised in secret on mars who journeys to earth for love. Along the way he discovers the beauty of a world denied to him. His core drives are to find love in his long distance pen pal, and to find his father.

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My initial hope that Gary Oldman would put on a fun enough performance to keep me entertained was quickly dashed. By halfway through I was just glad that he looked as bored as I was. It’s a rare to see anything from Gary Oldman fall flat, but he just can’t pump any life into this.

I find it sad that Oldman was the best of the actors. Asa Butterfield, as Gardner Elliot, does deliver one or two moments of genuine emotion. He makes us pay for it with his lows, though. Every other performance detracts from from the experience.

Equal blame belongs to the writing. The dialog must take as much for the credit for these performances as the actors themselves. Throwaway responses and contrived exposition comprise half of anything anyone has to say. If you are spending half your dialog apologizing for plot holes, there’s a real problem here.

The acting and dialog issues are second to the broken narrative. Predictable at best, and at worst it uses cheap and implausible solutions to get to where it wants to go. Careless resolutions to core elements of the story undermine my investment. And that’s when the movie bothers to address a plot hole. Some gaps are just left open and weeping.

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An unfortunate mess remains after everything gets tied together. The tragedy here is that these themes deserve better. Exploring the wonderful aspects of life on Earth from that outside perspective can work. These ideas could even be profound and impacting, but the sub-par delivery ruins it. Worse, these great ideas become boring in the telling.

A few good ideas lost in the troubled narrative aren’t the only high points. As mentioned before, Asa Butterfield does manage to land a few good moments. The director, Peter Chelsom, composes some frames that are inspiring. Though few and far between, these are intriguing and engaging in their composition.

We could have gotten something better. The Space Between Us has a wealth of great ingredients, but they’re all put together wrong. Not even bad enough to offend, it wont be worth turning the channel if you catch it on late night TV. We’re left with a snooze fest that is all downhill after the opening monologue.

Final Verdict:Broken and disjointed, The Space Between Us is more likely to put you to sleep than entertain you.