The In Between
Posted on February 11, 2022 at 12:30 amB
|Lowest Recommended Age:||Middle School|
|MPAA Rating:||Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief strong language, and some thematic material|
|Profanity:||Brief strong language|
|Alcohol/ Drugs:||Reference to a drunk driver and alcohol abuse|
|Violence/ Scariness:||Fatal car accident, sad death, scenes in hospital|
|Date Released to Theaters:||February 11, 2022|
Should a movie have a happy ending? We may guess that the teenage couple who debate this critical question in their very first conversation are destined for each other. We may guess which category this film falls in from the opening scene, a fatal car accident. We will see the story unfold back and forth between that night and 102 days earlier, so we can see how they met and fell in love and the events that led up to and followed the crash.
They meet when Skylar (Kyle Allen of “A Map of Tiny Perfect Things”) and Tessa (Joey King of “The Kissing Booth” movies) are entire audience for a French film called “Betty Blue.” Tessa is about to leave when she realizes that there are no subtitles. But he takes the seat next to her and offers to translate as he has seen it before and he speaks French.
They debate the value of a happy ending. As we will learn, Skylar has two loving parents he admires and is close to. He is an outstanding student and athlete and has been accepted at Brown. He believes in happy endings because the world has treated him kindly. Tessa, who lives with people who are not her parents and would rather interact with the world behind a camera, has experienced loss and she is determined to make sure she never risks feeling pain again. She cannot help falling in love with him, but cannot bring herself to say the words that come more easily to him.
Like “Ghost” and “Truly Madly Deeply,” this is a story of love and loss. Tessa is just fine at a remove from other people, taking photos and not talking to the adults she lives with. But Skylar is irresistible. Impossibly so, like beyond perfect, handsome, humble, funny, smart, and one hundred percent devoted and supportive even when she is challenging. But that’s almost okay because Allen has a lot of charm and carries it lightly and because it is depicting the heightened emotions of teenage first love. We can accept that we are seeing him through Tessa’s eyes.
King is transitioning smoothly into more grown-up roles and she is very appealing here, especially as we see Tessa’s relationship with Skylar evolve. We can see how desperately she wants to find connection and allow herself to be loved, even as it terrifies her. The movie is about 20 minutes too long, but so sweet it is hard to hold that against it.
Parents should know that this movie includes discussion of family loss, abandonment, and dysfunction including a mentally unstable parent, foster care, and divorce, brief strong language, and a teen sexual situation.
Family discussion: How do you decide when to protect yourself and when to make yourself vulnerable? Why was it important for Tessa to hear her own words?
If you like this, try: “Every Day,” “Before I Fell,” and, also starring Kyle Allen, “A Map of Tiny Perfect Things”