Critics, audience clash on ‘The Space Between Us’

staff writer

For movie lovers who often have a hard time choosing between science fiction fantasy tales and romantic comedies, the recently released movie “The Space Between Us” is the perfect marriage of the two genres.
The film was released on Feb. 3 by STX Entertainment and was directed by Peter Chelsom. The movie is an adaptation of a story written by Stewart Schill, Richard B. Lewis and Allan Loeb.
The film begins in 2018 when a team of astronauts is sent to Mars to develop a sustainable community.
Shortly after the team leaves earth and begins its seven-month journey to the new community called East Texas, the lead astronaut, Sara Elliott, discovers she is pregnant.
Sara ultimately dies during the birth of her child, leaving him to be raised by her fellow scientists on Mars.
Sixteen years later the now grown boy, Gardner Elliott, has formed an internet friendship with a girl on Earth named Tulsa.
Gardner wants to travel to Earth so he can experience what it is like. He also has hopes of meeting Tulsa and looking for his father, but due to the fact he has grown up on Mars, his internal organs are not accustomed, nor are they strong enough, to withstand the gravity present on Earth.
Finally after multiple surgeries and physical therapy, Gardner makes the journey to Earth, where he eventually escapes his quarantine and sets out on a journey to find Tulsa and his father.
The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Gardner Elliott and Brittany Robertson as Tulsa.
The film is filled with quirky humor that is paired nicely with the heavy content such as the death of Gardner’s mother, Tulsa’s unfortunate parental situation and Gardner’s impending death due to organ failure.
The young actors did a respectable job of portraying what it is like to be a teenager struggling with love, loss and the confusion that comes with growing up.
Though the film had a few holes in the plot line and the character development was weak in some instances, overall the movie was a fresh take on a seemingly cliché and overdone story line, and worked well across multiple genres.
However, the film is not being received well by many critics. It has strikingly low ratings on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb with comments such as, “‘The Space Between Us’ strands its star-crossed young lovers in a mind-numbingly vast expanse of shameless cheese that will send all but the most forgiving viewers eye-rolling for the exits.”
A writer for IndieWire, David Ehrlich, said, “’The Space Between Us’ adds the one thing that’s been missing from melodramatic teen dramas like ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘If I Stay’: Mars. Of course! The Red Planet. What took them so long?”
For fans of young adult genre movies, books and art, these comments and feedback from critics are outrageously offensive and, quite frankly, inaccurate.
Just because a movie may be classified as a “melodramatic teen drama” does not make it any less of a work of art and expression that can connect with a specific group of individuals.
To diminish something because it is aimed for teenagers, even if it is unrealistic, is intolerable and tasteless.
Overall, the film may have been a bit cliché and cheesy, but it was an interesting take on a popular story line and despite what critics have been saying about it, is a beautiful story of growing up and learning what it means to be human.

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