A 2022 romance and science fiction film, The In-Between, directed by Arie Posin and starring Joey King and Kyle Allen, explores the love story of two youngsters that are separated too quickly by this cruel world. The film shows their happiness, core memories, grief, and letting go as they both fight for their love from different worlds.
A broken-hearted girl who thinks she doesn’t deserve love meets a charming boy so filled with love, you can see it in his eyes. Tessa and Skylar, from two different worlds, meet at a movie theater and quickly fall for each other. They start their sweet, young, passionate love and go on many adventures together — giving them plenty of happy memories to hold on to. Tessa gets to do the one thing that brings her happiness: taking photos with the boy she holds dear to her heart.
However, nothing lasts forever. The universe decides to give them a tragedy that ends their relationship abruptly. A car accident injures both, but only Tessa survives. They were together for 182 days before Skylar goes to the afterlife — leaving Tessa in the land of the living, broken-hearted, once again. She finds it difficult to adjust to the new and difficult chapter of her life. A life with new injuries and wounds, but no Skylar.
Tessa’s Grief and Skylar’s Clues
Thankfully, Tessa has a strong support system to help her through these trying times in her life. Her adoptive parents, her best friend Shannon, as well as a woman named Doris whom she meets at the hospital. Doris is a writer, who focuses on the afterlife. She tells Tessa that Skylar might exist in a different dimension. But, trying to keep herself sane, she doesn’t believe Doris.
However, Tessa then starts experiencing weird happenings in her life. She loses control of her hand during her SATs, she sees Skylar’s face when she develops her photos, and their shared favorite song plays on every single phone in her classroom.
The most prominent one is probably how her GPS sets itself to a location. The route is similar to the pattern she draws on her SAT answer sheet, so she immediately thinks of Skylar. She follows it, and it leads her to the home of Doris. If it isn’t already clear enough, Skylar is not the type to send mixed signals. Even from the afterlife.
After being led to Doris’ home, Tessa learns of a place in the afterlife called the in-between. Doris informs her that Skylar might want to reach out and communicate with her from said place. But, of course, there is a catch. When she does go, there is a possibility that she might not come back to the real world, and become stuck in the in-between.
Nothing ever stops a person from seeing their love once again. Not even an injury that requires surgery to fix. Tessa, putting her physical health aside, embarks on her journey to the in-between, accompanied by her best friend Shannon. They both head to the lake, where she and Skylar share a beautiful, intimate moment together. But, Skylar says otherwise and leads her to the road where the car accident happened.
Tessa, back at the accident site, successfully transports to the in-between and reunites with Skylar. They do all the things they want to do together as if living happily ever after with each other. For a moment, everything is nice. They are together, creating loving memories.
Meanwhile, in the real world, Tessa’s body is being rushed to the hospital for a surgery she desperately needs to save her life. Afterward, her body is in a coma, while her soul is together with Skylar, in the in-between. Skylar, the romantic that he is, believes in happy endings and tells Tessa to go back to her life and give their story a happy ending.
After telling Skylar that she loves him, she makes the decision and says goodbye for the final time. She returns to her life, waking up in a hospital, with her adoptive parents by her side. Tessa then gets back on her feet and is seen giving a presentation about her photography work in her dream, prestigious school. However, she is not fully separated from Skylar, as he always looks after her from the afterlife. His shadow can be seen in the hall with her when she gives her presentation.
The choice she makes at the end is probably the best of all choices. She has got the chance to be with Skylar once more, to tell him that she loves him. Then she continues living her life, making her dream come true, always with Skylar by her heart. By living her best life, she gets to give their story a happy ending they both want and deserve.
The In-Between explores many of the most common themes in romance films — young love, passion, death, grief, and longing. For some viewers, this may come across as repetitive and ordinary. However, some may argue that the film leaves you feeling warm and bitter-sweet as you see Tessa trying her best to live out the life she wants, also the one that Skylar wants. Not every story has the happiest ending, but theirs is as happy as it’s ever going to get.
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