The In Between Parent Guide
This movie is so cheesy it should come with crackers.
Parent Movie Review
Tessa (Joey King) and Skylar (Kye Allen) have spent a magical summer falling in love with one another and sharing their hopes and dreams. As the season ends, the two quarrel, and before Skylar leaves town, the pair are hit by a car, leaving Tess with a broken heart. Literally. Her heart has ruptured and must be repaired – and Skylar is dead, which means that surgery alone cannot heal her. The only way she can fully recover is to reach into the “in between” space where Skylar lingers and complete their unfinished emotional business.
If the whole “broken heart” thing isn’t a clue, let me be clear: this is a very, very cheesy movie. “Love never dies” is a line that comes out of Skylar’s mouth (seriously!) and the rest of the film hits all the tropes you can imagine for a romantic teen drama. There’s a “meet-cute” where Tessa and Skylar encounter each other in a movie theater as he translates for her in the absence of subtitles. Various romantic dates follow – picnics, drives, rowing around a lake, and some sex in the woods. As their relationship deepens, Kyle opens up about his parents’ marital problems, and
Tessa delves into her paralyzing fear of emotional commitment. It’s a tribute to Joey King and Kyle Allen that the romance feels convincing. Heaven knows the script is often painful, but these young actors give it their all and it sometimes works.
What’s less convincing is the supernatural aspect of the film, which is a serious problem for a movie based on “love after death”. The whole idea of a liminal space between life and death is a bit unsettling and it is never satisfactorily explained by Doris (Donna Biscoe), the elderly sage who guides Tessa on her quest to reconnect with Skylar. What really left me scratching my head are the inconsistencies in how the dead can reach out to the living. For instance, Skylar can apparently control electric lights, trigger cell phone ring tones, mess with computers, override a car’s GPS, and even drive a car – all from the great beyond. If he can do all that, why can’t he simply send Tessa texts to share what he feels and where she can find him? Instead, Tessa and her best friend wind up experimenting with a planchette, staring at TV static, and trying every other thing they can come up with to bridge the divide between the lovers.
If you’re wondering about watching The In Between with teens, I’d sound a cautionary note. The profanity and sexual content are par for the course in teen films, the biggest concern being the intercourse al fresco (without mention of contraception). The scene is carefully filmed and there is no graphic nudity but it might fall outside of family viewing standards. The bigger issue here is Tessa’s behavior after Skylar’s death. Buffeted by powerful emotions, Tessa acts in ways that are often self-destructive and reckless. When she focuses her energies on connecting with Skylar, she steals a credit card belonging to Vickie (Kim Dickens), one of her long-suffering guardians, in order to purchase supplies that will help her find ghosts. (Yup, that’s in the storyline.) Tessa’s choices in this movie are frequently inadvisable and don’t provide a positive template for teen viewers.
On the bright side, the movie does manage to generate some messages about not being paralyzed by fear and moving beyond past traumas. The story also clearly demonstrates the need teens have for adult guidance, particularly as Vickie and Mel (John Ortiz) provide critical support for Tessa, persisting even when she tries to push them away. And although it’s smothered in all the cheesy layers, there’s a pretty decent tribute here to the power of love to lift and heal.Directed by Arie Posin. Starring Joey King, Kyle Allen, Kim Dickens. Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release April 8, 2022. Updated April 8, 2022
Watch the trailer for The In Between
The In Between
Rating & Content Info
Why is The In Between rated PG-13? The In Between is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual content, brief strong language, and some thematic material
Violence: A car accident is briefly seen. There is injury detail after the accident, including some blood. A distraught person throws a camera into a lake.
Sexual Content: A movie clip shows a couple embracing passionately. There are scenes of a teen boy and girlkissing each other. They have sex outdoors: bare backs are visible but there is no graphic detail. A woman talks about being in love with a few men and “maybe one woman”. A girl mentions her vagina. A young man is seen shirtless.
Profanity: There are just over a dozen terms of deity, three scatological curses, two anatomical terms, a mild profanity, and one sexual expletive. A crude term for women is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There is a scene if teens at a party drinking what might be alcohol but the beverage is never specified.
Page last updated April 8, 2022
The In Between Parents' Guide
Why is Tessa so obsessed with reconnecting with Skylar? What does she learn when she sees him again? What do you think of her choice at the end of the film?
What are your beliefs about what happens after death? Where do those beliefs come from? Have you ever discussed them with someone who believes differently? What did you learn from them?
Related home video titles:
If you can’t get enough of “love reaching beyond death”, you can watch Endless, which has an almost identical storyline. In this film, a young man who has died in a car accident and is now in a waiting space tries to reach out to his surviving girlfriend. But that contact comes at a price…
In If I Stay, Mia lies comatose after a car accident which has killed her family. Her boyfriend, Adam, keeps trying to call her back. But will she listen?
The anime production Ride Your Wave also features a young woman grieving a lost love. But this time, the deceased can communicate through water.
P.S. I Love You isn’t a teen romance, but it features a widow who finds ten messages that her husband left to help her cope after his death.
You can watch these actors in other teen dramas. Kyle Allen stars in The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, a story about two teens caught in a time loop. Joey King plays the lead in The Kissing Booth, The Kissing Booth 2 and The Kissing Booth 3.