Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Space Between Us Film Review

I caught The Space Between Us yesterday. Directed by Peter Chelsom it was a gentle film that threw me completely. I figured it was a movie aimed at kids, given that it started just prior to half term. About space, living on Mars, and all the funny things that happen to the body when coming down to Earth for the first time.

And of course the critics didn't like it. And yes there are some questionable events. But rather than nit pick I found the love story was so sweet it reduced me to tears.

Sharp suited and looking very handsome, Gary Oldman playing Nathanial Shepherd, has always dreamed of space, and finally his company Genesis is sending a group of astronauts to Mars. Lead astronaut Sarah, played by Janet Montgomery, discovers she is pregnant midway through the voyage, and gives birth on Mars. But sadly dies as her son has barely takes his first breath on East Texas, their Mars outpost. Back on earth Genesis and Nasa decide to cover up Janet's death with a malfunctioning space suit, and keep the baby a secret. I guessed they didn't want to have to talk in a press conference about how the hell they didn't realise she was pregnant with all their medical tests prior to lift off. And what did they feed him on as formula wasn't probably in their packed food. But that's nit picking.

Gardner grows into a tall gangly lad, played by Asa Butterfield, and by the age of 16 has learned all there is to know about his environment, and can run rings around the scientists living on East Texas. Mothered by Kendra, played by childless scientist Carla Gugino, who looks after him and chastises him when he does wrong. His life is one big planet of life size space toys.

Gardner has a heart problem with a pacemaker fitted so gets into trouble fairly easy, using the pacemaker to bypass the electrics to restricted areas. And secretly goes through his mom's things. But what he really wants is to visit Earth. And meet Tulsa the girl he skypes with. He tells her he is confined to his Upper Eastside penthouse due to an incurable disease, but hopes one day they will meet.

Kendra sensing his pain and his astounding intelligence, pleads with Nasa and Nathanial, who has recently returned to Genesis, and the East Texas project he set up, to bring him to Earth. And they finally agree, after some pretty intense operations to strengthen his bones, that are too brittle for Earth's atmosphere. And Kendra giving him fitness drills to build up his muscles.

Finally Gardner is on his way. Tulsa, played by Britt Robertson, (from Disney's Tomorrowland), meanwhile is growing up with social services passing her from foster home to foster home. She's angry at the way life has treated her but is a genuinely good girl. Gardner finds his way to her because he wants her help to find his father.  He only has a photo from his mother's things to guide him. But Tulsa is streetwise and agrees to help him. Even though she thinks he's just a crazy and no way is he from Mars! But Gardner sees the wonders of Earth, and through his eyes Tulsa starts to see the world anew too.

Of course we all want a happy ending. But the Earth's gravity affects Gardner too much and he starts to get sick. And it turns out his heart condition is hereditary. The local hospital have never seen a body like his when they x-ray him. Maybe he is telling the truth. But he's dying. Slightly like ET I thought.

Tying everything up neatly the ending was predictable, but it didn't stop it from being sweet. As a half-term film I don't think boys would be that interested. But if girls can get past the space premise, it's very enjoyable.

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