Romance can be a tricky genre to write content for. It’s common for romantic movies to either be comedic stories, in which two opposites find each other and gradually fall in love, or dramatic stories where their love is threatened or lost.
“The In Between,” now streaming on Paramount+, takes an approach that twists the latter formula with the inclusion of supernatural forces as a teenager discovers her late boyfriend trying to reconnect with her from the afterworld.
Joey King and Kyle Allen play Tessa and Skylar, two high school students whose romance is told in a non-linear format. From the moment they meet, t
he chemistry between them is apparent.
Both King and Allen give their characters enough personality to make their relationship worth following. King, in particular, does the necessary work to make Tessa an interesting lead.
The backstory of how Tessa ended up where she is is not necessarily groundbreaking, but that does not always matter, as long as there is an ounce of relatability and sympathy for the character. In this case, there is.
The movie seesaws between the present day and flashbacks as the couple meet and immediately click. In this, we gradually get to see Tessa and Skylar’s relationship blossom and later, falter. Their individual personal lives are also focused on, which helps give them a certain ounce of depth.
The aforementioned supernatural element allows this film to stick out compared to various other teen romance movies. The way Skylar tries to reconnect with Tessa adds a decent amount of tension and mystery as we and Tessa try to figure out what is occurring.
The existence of supernatural forces in this movie’s universe doesn’t show up completely out of nowhere, either. One woman who Tessa meets while in the hospital, Doris, played by Donna Biscoe, claims to have a connection to the supernatural. While her role in the film is relatively minor, her knowledge of the afterlife does go a long way in helping Tessa.
The use of color is particularly superb. The flashback scenes have somewhat brighter colors to illustrate how Tessa suddenly has a new lease on life. After losing Skylar, the colors become muted and naturalistic, reflecting how she loses the light in her life. The climax, which officially ties in the flashbacks and the present day together, is also shot in a clever way.
All these elements come together to create what is ultimately a fine movie. “The In Between” presents an endearing enough romance for the audience to become invested in.
It holds enough creativity in its inclusion of the supernatural, and the technical elements deserve commending as well. Additionally, the film’s structure helps to convey the ups and downs of the relationship, as well as their own personal stories.
With a movie like “The In Between,” it is essential that the audience learn enough about the characters so that they can find them worth following. Otherwise, their plight falls flat.
Luckily, “The In Between” succeeds on that front.