Reviews In A Flash

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While the hyper-hyped anarchic superhero flick “Suicide Squad” wins hands-down as the edgiest pick from this month’s upcoming movie releases, a more heartwarming alternative is the sci-fi drama “The Space Between Us.”

This story centers around a curious, intelligent, romantic young boy named Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield, “Ender’s Game”) who has the distinction of being the only living human who has never set foot on Earth. Elliot’s mother, Sarah, a NASA astronaut participating in a groundbreaking Mars colonization program, was unwittingly pregnant the day she and her team launched into space. Carrying a pregnancy to term in zero gravity is uncharted territory, and no one is certain what effects incubation, birth or development in space will have on the child. Though Sarah successfully carries her son to term, she tragically does not survive the birth.

For 16 years, Gardner calls Mars home. Motherless and with no idea who his father is, Gardner is raised on the red planet by the scientists stationed there. Unable to travel to Earth because experts believe he would not survive the trip, Gardner experiences a childhood that is strangely beautiful and considerably lonely, having known only 14 people in his life. Extremely inquisitive, he spends much of his time virtually exploring Earth while searching for clues that may help him discover his father’s identity. During this process, he strikes up an online friendship with a streetwise girl named Tulsa (Britt Robertson, “Tomorrowland”).

By the time he is 16, Gardner is fed up with watching life from afar and convinces his guardians to attempt to bring him back to Earth despite the risks.

(SPOILER ALERT: Major plot developments ahead.)

After he survives the trip, scientists continue to keep Gardner isolated to monitor and study the physical effects of Earth’s atmosphere on his body, as well as to learn what they can about his life on Mars. But Gardner will not tolerate one more minute of seclusion. He has a million questions about what it means and feels like to live on Earth, surrounded by other human beings. Knowing that the world he has dreamed of and studied from millions of miles away exists just beyond the walls of the facility where he is being kept is too great a temptation. He runs away to experience everything he’s read about, from the mundane to the extraordinary. Most of all, he wants to find his father and meet his one friend on Earth: Tulsa. Gardner pushes himself to the limits to spend every moment he has left with Tulsa; to race against the clock with her as he searches for his father; to soak in the wonders of Earth and ultimately to learn what it means to be truly human.

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