‘See You on Venus’ is a young adult romance film under the direction of Joaquín Llamas. It tells the story of two people heading off on an impulsive adventure, resolving past trauma, and finding love. Mia and Kyle are youths with emotional burdens from the past who head off to Spain to find Mia’s birth mother. Mia is an orphan who has spent her years growing up being passed around foster families. When faced with a heart condition that requires risky treatment, she wants to find out why she was abandoned before she can face the possibility of a fatal operation. Kyle feels responsible for the death of his friend in a car crash, and is drowning in guilt and trying desperately to escape from it.
Mia sees the kindness in Kyle and asks him to accompany her on an all-expenses-paid trip to Spain. He reluctantly agrees, not knowing he is signing up for a search mission. Once they land in the beautiful country, they rent an old van and take to the road, having very little information to go on to begin their search. Their adventure takes them to unexpected places, and as they help each other heal from their sorrows, they begin to find a romance burgeoning between them. Witnessing such a heart-wrenching tale driven by realistic performances by Virginia Gardner and Alex Aiono, one is forced to wonder if someone actually had to go through this and if the movie is based on a true story or inspired by one.
See You On Venus is Based on a Book
‘See You On Venus’ is based on a young adult novel of the same name by Victoria Vinuesa, who also adapted the book for the screen. Having said that, the core essence of the narrative is inspired by a true story the author stumbled upon. In an interview with Out South Florida, the established author opened up about the heartrending real story that moved her enough to draft a novel. She said, “A while ago I read about the story of a young YouTuber who had decided to take his own life. Looking at his picture I could see a desperation in his eyes, the muffled cry for help of someone who can’t see a way out no matter how hard he tries. For some reason it struck a deep chord in me.”
Victoria wondered how it was possible for our civilization to have figured out space exploration and yet struggle to deal with the greatest forms of human suffering. Having studied psychology before getting into writing, she longed to tell a story that gave hope to those who suffered alone. “After reading that article, my whole being pleaded with me to write a story that would offer hope to those who were desperate, and serve as an example of the fact that whatever we’ve done, it’s never too late to start over, that there are good people who are willing to listen, and that suffering always comes to an end somehow,” she added. The movie is reportedly very faithful to the book, aligning with its narrative and building upon its characters. If you feel like you’ve heard a very similar story before, there is a good chance you’ve seen the film ‘The Space Between Us,’ which shares multiple thematic similarities to it.
In the interplanetary romance, Gardner Elliot, a boy who was born on Mars, returns to Earth to find his father and sets off on the journey of a lifetime with his love interest. Much like Mia, Gardner possesses an innocent charm and struggles against a heart condition, leading to a race against time to find answers before his heart gives out. Their journeys are of discovering a beautiful new land, finding answers in their past, and coming to terms with themselves, all the while developing a heartwarming romance.
The character of Mia may seem familiar to actress Virginia Gardner’s character Abby from ‘Beautiful Disaster.’ Abby had a dark past that she wanted to leave behind, being a somewhat quirky and out-of-the-mold female lead. In an interview with Watch or Pass, Gardner confessed that she likes playing unique characters, which she can form in her own interpretation. While both characters were young women at important turning points in their lives, with Mia, Virginia was blown away by the optimism inspired by her outlook toward life.
In a romantic film, what often makes or breaks it is the chemistry between its characters. The more natural and believable it feels, the more likely it is for viewers to respond to it. ‘See You On Venus’ makes its story lifelike and hard-hitting through a beautifully developing chemistry between Mia and Kyle. Virginia and Alex built their friendship prior to filming and were guided through trust-building exercises by an acting coach. They further shared vulnerabilities, resulting in being comfortable with each other and having a subtle and believable chemistry on screen.
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