Space between us, The

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Not recommended under 14; PG to 15, due to themes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Space between us, The
  • a review of Space between us, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 March 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 14 Not recommended due to themes
Children 14 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to themes
Viewers 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Space between us, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes
Length: 120 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The space between us is a science fiction romance that follows the story of Gardner (Asa Butterfield), the first human born and raised on a NASA space station. Gardner's mother had been an astronaut who was unaware that she was pregnant when she set off on a mission to Mars and died giving birth to her son. It was decided by the CEO of Genesis, Nathaniel Shepard (Gary Oldman), that Gardner should secretly remain on Mars with the rest of the crew in order to avoid an inevitable PR disaster.

The film picks up the story sixteen years later, at which point Gardner has grown into an inquisitive and bright teenager who has only ever had social interactions with the other fourteen crew members. Hoping to learn more about his mother, he hacks into the robot known as Centaur in order to access the ship's storage. After locating his mother’s belongings, he finds items which lead him to think he may be able to track down his biological father.

At the same time, Gardner begins to develop an online relationship with a girl via an internet chat room. In the hopes of meeting Tulsa (Britt Robertson), Gardner begins to plan a trip to Earth. Ignoring medical advice indicating that he may be physically unable to survive Earth's atmosphere, Gardner sets off to find both Tulsa and his father.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Space exploration and isolation; death of a parent; teenage friendship and relationships; search for family

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • A young woman hits a man because she is frustrated with him for disappearing for seven months without informing her why - this is not depicted as serious violence.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scene, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There is a plane crash - although no individuals are killed, the crash causes a very large explosion

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • A woman dies in childbirth

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

There is some product placement within the film, including:

  • Vehicle brands, such as Mercedes and Ford
  • Dell
  • Walmart

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is mild sexual activity, including:

  • A teenage couple kiss
  • A couple have sex in a sleeping bag outdoors.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Tulsa’s father is shown drunk with empty beer bottles lying near him on the ground.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in the film, including:

  • 'arse’; 'damn'; 'dick'

In a nutshell

The space between us is an inspiring film about taking chances, developing human relationships, and remaining true to oneself. After having grown up socially isolated, as a teenager Gardner longs to form meaningful connections with others. The film highlights that when something is valued enough, there are no limits as to how far individuals may go to see their dreams realised.

The film’s story about the death of a mother in childbirth, a teenager growing up in isolation then searching for his father, and teenage romance, makes it more suitable viewing older teens. It is not recommended for children under 14, with parental guidance recommended for 14 year olds.

Other issues that parents may wish to discuss with their children include:

  • The importance of supportive friendships and relationships.
  • Learning how to be part of a team, and to have consideration for other people's needs as well as understanding the consequences of one’s own actions.
  • Accepting individuals despite differences, and embracing the unfamiliar.