As the past year or so has made abundantly clear, Earth is a bad place to live. If we don’t drain the plant’s natural resources, pollute the atmosphere to the point of toxicity, or drown beneath rising water levels, humanity could take the more direct route and wipe itself out through global nuclear war. Fascism and other forms of extremism have cropped up around the world like so many megalomaniacal dandelions, and Netflix still hasn’t added the fourth season of The Twilight Zone due to licensing complications. Everything is bad, and yet the upcoming sci-fi romance The Space Between Us boldly asks, “What if life on Earth was... good actually?”

For young Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield), everything about Earth is wondrous, and who can blame him? The boy was born and raised in near-total solitude in a scientific compound on Mars, bereft of playmates, public education, and (pubescent-sounding gulp) girls. When he develops a bond with his video pen-pal Tulsa (Britt Robertson) and decides he can’t take life alone any longer, he absconds to Earth — but tragedy awaits him. As he sports a stylish pair of sunglasses and falls deeper in love with Tulsa, the gravity of Earth has begun to collapse his heart, as a haggard-looking Gary Oldman so helpfully explains. Will true love conquer the laws of physics? Or is their romance simply too pure for this compromised world?

The answer will come to theaters on February 3, at which point the film will presumably take its rightful place as the The 5th Wave of 2017. Admit it — ‘Nicolas Sparks in space’ kind of has you curious, too.

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