Friday, February 3, 2017

The Space Between Us [2017]

MPAA ()  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (D)  Fr. Dennis (2 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (J. Chang) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review

The Space Between Us [2017] (directed by Peter Chelsom, screenplay by Allan Loeb, story by Stewart Schill, Richard Barton Lewis and Allan Loeb) is an at times _truly_ impossible teen-oriented "crush story" (seriously, there's NO WAY _in this universe_ that the story's two "star crossed lovers" could talk to each other (one on Mars, the other in Colorado) in an online chat, with even the speed of light at a mere 186,000 miles/sec, the distances involved, tens of millions to hundreds of millions of miles, are simply too great).  Nevertheless, putting aside this fairly elementary and yet (as of now) utterly insurmountable telecommunications problem -- our deep space probes operate using a mix of artificial intelligence / instructions sent to them ahead of time and report their findings back to earth minutes to hours after the fact -- it's _not_ an awful weepy teen-oriented "crush story." 

PARENTS SHOULD NOTE that there is a scene in which the two teens in question - the lankly Mars-born "Gardner" (played by Asa Butterfield) and the actually quite similarly rootless, shuttled from one-foster-home-to-another "Tulsa" (played by Britt Robertson) DO end up _sharing a sleeping bag_ together ... -- during a truly beautiful "starry night" out in the Arizona desert on their way to find "Gardner's" father (Gardner's mother, an astronaut only found out that she was pregnant 2 months into a mission to Mars ... and dies soon after giving birth to him on the red planet). 

Was that scene WISE or even NECESSARY? -- let's remember that Shakespeare settled his narrative problem of what to do with his two enamored "star crossed teens" in Romeo & Juliet by having them get married secretly by Friar Lawrence (and it would seem that Gardner's mother was married _secretly_ by an Arizona Shaman to Gardner's father before her departure to Mars ;-).  Still the film's wink to "Okay, teens it's okay to shack-up if only for one night, if the night is TRULY BEAUTIFUL / romantic" will irritate a fair number of parents ... and REQUIRE COMMENT (and condemnation) by a Church authority such as me (it's part of our job).

But okay, so the story's science is flawed and in the above point morally questionable.  Still, what a great teen romance: He from Mars, raised by astronauts who didn't necessarily expect that to be part of their job, she born and yet quite lonely here on Earth -- So what's a few hundred million miles distance when TRUE LOVE [TM] is involved ;-).

So all in all, it's NOT an awful sappy teen-age love story ;-) and with regard to _this film genre_ does one necessarily demand "more"?

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