The Space Between Us is a story about a scientist (Gary Oldman) who spends trillions of taxpayer dollars to send a colony of people to Mars, send his son back down from Mars (spoiler alert), and then uses various expensive resources to run around the country looking for him…and the kid isn’t even Matt Damon. Asa Butterfield stars as Gardner, a teenager who was born on Mars because his mother didn’t take a pregnancy test before going to space.
When the plot kills her after delivering a healthy baby boy, Gardner is left to be raised by scientists which makes him super smart in creating technology but super dumb when it comes to everything else like understanding how to talk to people despite being raised by scientists his whole life. After getting on a ship and flying back to Earth, it is discovered that due to the gravity differences on the planet, his heart can’t withstand earth’s gravity and begins to kill him. Unfortunately, Gardner runs around the Southwest United States before anyone can tell him. A poorly written film as they try to create emotion by forcing it.
The love story doesn’t feel genuine at all. The couple meets for the first time and in the span of the two days, they are madly in love with each other…sure. The setup goes to illustrate how pathetic teen romance movies are these days by selling an idea of love that isn’t realistic. The veteran actors, Carla Gugino and Gary Oldman are only in the film to run on camera while always being 10 minutes behind the two kids that steal cars and a ridiculous amount of cash. While I’m sure they commit multiple felonies throughout the film, they don’t bother to address it.
The only thing that stands out in this film is NASA having more money and resources than Matt Damon had in The Martian and the primary plot device is emotional manipulation. The solution to Gardner’s medical problems is absurd and even the big twist at the end you feel absolutely nothing for because you don’t believe it for a second. The Space Between Us is a romantic science fiction film that is nearly as insulting as a sci-fi as it is insulting as a romance.