The rom-com we deserve

The Space Between Us doesn’t disappoint


Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment

Opening on February 3, The Space Between Us, a new action/adventure, science-fiction/fantasy, romantic comedy directed by Peter Chelsom, proves to be one-of-a-kind.

Romantic comedies have been overdone. Lately, the majority of them have had almost identical plots, characters, and fan bases. However, The Space Between Us, starring famed child-actors Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson, proves to be a diamond in the rough.

The long-awaited release of this movie shows its ability to appeal to both science-fiction and rom-com fans, demonstrates a few ethical dilemmas that got audiences thinking, and proves the movie to be genuinely funny.

The story starts when the lead astronaut on a mission to colonize Mars (appealing more to people who are interested in science-fiction, something many rom-coms don’t do) unexpectedly – and irresponsibly – falls pregnant. A debate appears within NASA (and the company who started the Mars colonization project) about what to do with the child. This introduces an ethical crisis: Would it be wrong to keep the kid a secret?

That’s what they ended up doing. Sixteen years later the child, Gardner Elliot, is extremely unhappy with his lonely life being raised by scientists, unknown by anyone on his true home, and without any real knowledge of the place (or people) that he came from, as his mother died giving birth to him and never disclosed to anyone who his father is.

Audiences soon find out he’s been using the internet to chat with a girl in Colorado named Tulsa, who also has an unfortunate upbringing. As they chat more and more, it becomes obvious that she is the only thing keeping him from feeling completely deserted, and he is the only thing she really likes in her life.

Thankfully for Gardner, a plan is hatched to bring him home (against the advisement of the man whose brain child was the mission to Mars). However, there’s an issue: Gardner has lived his whole life on a planet with two-thirds the gravity of Earth, and no one knows how his body is going to react to life on Earth. Before he can even go back, he has to have a surgery to make his bones denser.

When Gardner gets to Earth, he escapes the NASA facility and travels to Colorado to meet Tulsa, who greets him angrily for “ghosting” her for seven months (unbeknownst to her, it was because he was on a seven-month space trip from Mars to Earth). The two decide to go on a road-trip across the country to find Gardner’s father.

Along the way, the kids (who are obviously falling quickly in love with each other) encounter many obstacles; deliver many amusing jokes, such as Gardner absolutely freaking out when he sees a horse for the first time and Tulsa genuinely not knowing why he’s so shocked saying, “It’s just a horse,” with a confused tone; and a few cliche, yet cute, romantic moments.

Overall, the film, whose plot twists are interesting yet not distracting, is one of the better romantic comedies made in the past few years. Rotten Tomatoes, however, doesn’t agree, giving it a mere 18% rating. Judge for yourself, though: the movie is in plenty of theaters in the West Linn area, with showings multiple times a day.