Set in the not too distant future, The Space Between Us taps into today’s increasingly popular mission to Mars space epics. There’s already a colony on Mars and joining the Mars team is astronaut Sarah Elliot (Janet Montgomery), who discovers she is pregnant. Shortly after landing, she dies from complications while giving birth to Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield). Rather than return to Earth, the powers that be decide to let Gardner grow up on the Red Planet—as the first true Martian.
Fast forward 16 years and we discover that Gardner has grown into an inquisitive, intelligent teen. Yet exposed to just 14 people in a cocoon-like upbringing has left him socially awkward. His only connection to what’s happening back on Earth is Tulsa (Britt Robertson), a street-smart teen from Colorado who he met in an Internet chatroom. Forced to grow up too fast, Tulsa has problems of her own, constantly being shuffled from one foster home to the next. To conceal his identity, he tells her he’s in a big city hospital for some rare medical condition.
Eager to learn more about his mother and find his father, Gardner wants desperately to return to Earth. But his request is denied due to his reduced bone density, poor muscle mass and other medical issues. On his side is mother figure, astronaut Kendra Wyndham (Carla Gugino) who succeeds in persuading her superiors to allow Gardner to make the trip. Arriving on Earth, Gardner is immediately quarantined in a NASA facility to undergo medical tests. Using his tech savvy and wits, Gardner escapes to find Tulsa and convinces her to help him find his father.
At this point, the film slips into a series of car and helicopter chases, wherein Gardner and Tulsa manage to elude their pursuers. The need to find the boy suddenly takes on an unexpected urgency when we learn that his enlarged heart is unable to withstand Earth’s gravity. The clock is ticking. Gardner must be found and returned to Mars or he will die.
Meanwhile, Tulsa takes Gardner on a whirlwind ride to experience the wonders of Earth. This includes a trip to Las Vegas and a joyride in a crop dusting bi-plane. It’s a cute “fish out of water” segment that endears us to both teens.
Will the NASA team find Gardner in time? Will he meet his real father? Will Tulsa go with him? These are the questions that that propel The Space Between Us to its ultimate conclusion.
The Space Between Us can be found on Digital HD now and will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on May 16.