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Thursday, February 9, 2017

[GUEST] The Space Between Us Movie Review

GUEST WRITER: Don Shanahan is a fellow Chicago film critic of "Every Movie Has a Lesson." He is an elementary educator who writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. Don is one of the directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Association (CIFCC). Please welcome him as an occasional contributor to Eman's Movie Reviews. 

The Trailer:

The Good:
Through all the glossy cheese, what is winning and worthwhile about this adventure are its positive messages and old-fashioned romantic vibes that lie far removed from the usual recipe of petulant Millennial angst that permeates the movies targeting today’s teen demographic. Composer Andrew Lockington’s blend of synth and strings merges well with a coffee shop pop soundtrack featuring a pair of Ingrid Michaelson songs. The key draw is Gardner. Asa Butterfield plays the teen as a pleasantly hopeless romantic. His smile and wide-eyed worldview are charming and contagious. The kid’s got spirit and so does the movie.

The Bad:
The high concept of a child raised on another planet in “The Space Between Us” downshifts to a teen-bonding road movie. It is peppered with a dash of “Starman”-esque initiative as Gardner detrimentally has trouble acclimating to the greener, wetter, heavier, and brighter Earth. The thought-provoking scientific ramifications that created the film’s intriguing premise are muddied by the silly coinkydinks and frequently preposterous holes and turns of the plot’s earthbound pursuits.

Telling you the film was written by Allan Loeb, the screenwriter of the reviled “Collateral Beauty” and directed by Peter Chelsom, the man behind “Hannah Montana: The Movie” does not help its cause. Nobody does frantic like Gary Oldman who is always overselling, forgivably so. 26-year-old Britt Robertson is too old to play a convincing teenager, but shows bossy pluck as the chatty and fetching love interest. You have to take the bad with the good because the same writer also composed the colorful fun of “21” and the director brought the masses the chick flick fave “Serendipity.”

The Reason

Call me a softy or a sunny optimist, but I will take "The Space Between Us" over the next "Percy Jackson and the Hunger Maze Runner City of Bones Games with the 5th Wave of Divergent Mortal Instruments." The YA movie marketplace is overfilled with militarized kid-on-kid peril in the science fiction department. “The Space Between Us” is cheesy, corny, and pretends to be better than it really is, but, gosh darnit, the film has a charming and positive core that is hard to ignore. For as much as there is a place for the heady and heavy, there should be room for the simple as sweet too.

The Rating:  6.5/10
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My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs

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