“The Space Between Us” Comes to Grips with Climate Change

“The Space Between Us” explores space voyage and love across the universe. The movie opens with six astronauts who are about to embark on this mission, led by astronaut Sarah Elliott (Janet Montgomery) to see if human life can live on Mars, to explore the possibility of having a thriving human colony on the planet. During the journey to Mars, they discover that Sarah is pregnant; by the time the unit gets to Mars, she is prepared to give birth. The child developing in zero gravity becomes a concern, and prevents the child from returning to Earth. The astronauts make it to Mars and Sarah gives birth, but dies in childbirth due to space conditions. Because he was born in space, the company decides that it is too dangerous to send the child back to Earth. The main story begins 16 years later, when the young boy from Mars, Gardner (Asa Butterfield), wants to know what it is like to be on Earth.

While the movie’s plot centers around both the journey to find Gardner’s father and the romantic relationship between Gardner and Tulsa (Britt Robertson)—his on Earth online pal—the real star of the film is Earth itself. While the performances in the film portrayed the journey well, you would not be invested in these characters as the film you would want to be, due to the predictability of the script that clearly had a hard time enticing the audience.


I can’t help but wonder with the current administration in office, is this film about Earth and space travel trying to prepare us for our future? Is it trying to subliminally tell us that our future is not on this planet? The film’s imagery shows snowy mountain tops, long, winding roads surrounded by changing leaves, the vast waves of the ocean and the immense beauty of the Grand Canyon. The beauty of these landscapes are also heightened by the dialogue between Gardner and Tulsa about his need to know more about Earth and what she enjoys about Earth.


Because Gardner developed in zero gravity, he experiences harmful health conditions when he comes to Earth— it is implied that the deterioration of Gardner’s health parallels with the worsening state of Earth. While Gardner seems to love Earth and wants to be a part of its landscape, Earth does not seem to love him back. This metaphor foreshadows the possible future relationship between mankind and Earth.


While the images of Earth are beautifully captured in the film, there are also subtle ways the landscape of Earth also makes an appearance in the film. This includes the golden hour glow as the characters walk down a road and the brightness of the sun reflecting off the sand while the characters run to the waves. While the plot falls a little flat and feels rushed at the end, I would still encourage people to see the film because it offers a complete outsider’s perception of Earth. The film will hopefully spark motivation in its audience to think about what is being done about climate change and encourage you to ask yourself, as Gardner asks various individuals through the film, “What’s your favorite thing about Earth?”




Photo: STX Entertainment

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