Asa Butterfield has been making films since he was nine years old, with big names and big themes like Hugo, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Now, he returns to the setting of his sci-fi epic Ender’s Game: space. With a script from Allan Loeb (Collateral Damage), Butterfield plays Gardner Elliott, the first child from Earth born at zero gravity.
The film is mostly a teen love story. Elliott meets Tulsa (Britt Robertson, Tomorrowland, A Dog’s Purpose) in a chat room – he’s in space, and she’s on Earth. Determined to meet up with his new friend, Elliott journeys to Earth at risk to himself physically given his differing bone structure and biomechanics. With this star-crossed love, the two play out their relationship while Elliott’s foster mom figure (Carla Gugino), space pioneer Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman), and Genesis (Mars) director Tom Chen (B.D. Wong) meddle in their affairs and try to keep Elliott safe.
There’s a certain amount of sappiness involved but it does challenge us to consider what we love enough to pursue even if it would kill us. What would we live or die for? What are our non-negotiables, our intangible values, that we’d refuse to give up? In The Space Between Us, it’s the space, the love, the experiences that we can’t appreciate until they’ve been fully put out there, where we might lose them.
On the Lionsgate Blu-ray/DVD packages, special features include: an alternate ending, deleted scenes, a feature commentary by director Peter Chelsom, and a featurette, “Love,” about how the team in front of and behind the camera discuss the theme in the film.