Skip to main content

Paramount+'s The In Between Reviews Are Up, Here's What Critics Have To Say About Joey King’s New Romance

Tessa and Skylar in The In Between.
(Image credit: Paramount+)

The In Between, a romantic drama starring Joey King (possibly best known from The Conjuring and The Kissing Booth) and Kyle Allen (who starred in The Map of Tiny Perfect Things and The Path), tells the story of teenage girl Tessa. Specifically when she survives a car accident in which her boyfriend Skylar died. In the aftermath Tessa believes Skylar is trying to contact her from beyond, or rather, “the in between.” The movie was released Friday, February 11, on Paramount+, and critics had a chance to screen the movie ahead of its release. 

Joey King is fresh off the final installment of Netflix’s The Kissing Booth trilogy, and she’s opted to continue in the romance genre, though this new venture adds a supernatural element. Let’s take a look at what the reviews say about The In Between.  

Kate Erbland of IndieWire grades The In Between a C-, calling it a Ghost ripoff for Gen Z. She argues that the movie can’t decide between being a love story or a ghost story, even while the former is stronger.

While it makes sense that screenwriter Marc Klein ('Serendipity,' 'Mirror Mirror') would want his audience to invest in Tessa and Skylar’s bond before it’s ripped away, the romantic angle is so much more compelling to watch then the reach-beyond-the-grave one that audiences will likely want to snip it entirely. It doesn’t help that Posin seems unsure of how to treat it, opting for both obvious choices (bathing the post-accident sequences in muted colors, having Tessa cut off her hair in a fit of rage) and baffling ones (the musical choices alone are strange, including a score that often seems chosen at total random).

Lena Wilson of The New York Times finds problematic themes in the movie — I won’t spoil anything here — as far as how much Tessa is willing to sacrifice for her lost love. In the end, the review argues, the characters just aren’t likable. 

This mawkish plot might be tolerable if its characters were more likable; instead, they are pretension personified. Tessa meets Skylar at a screening of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s 1986 psychological drama “Betty Blue,” where he offers to translate the French for her. He describes them both as 'analog,' because they like film photography and ’80s pop hits and don’t post on social media.

Jeremy Thomas of 411 Mania, however, enjoys the chemistry between Joey King and Kyle Allen, and says their performances should satisfy viewers of the teen romance genre. He rates The In Between a 6.5 out of 10.

King is best known to audiences for Netflix’s The Kissing Booth films, so she’s no stranger to teen romances. She puts that experience to good work here, elevating a role that could have easily been a collection of YA tropes – the brilliant but emotionally-distant girl who must find love to learn about life. King makes this character, who shoots photography and watches old movies (but doesn’t like happy endings), feel authentic and real. It helps that she’s well-matched in Allen, who gives a light touch of gravitas to the more upbeat character.

With its straight-to-streaming, early-in-the-year release, Josh at the Movies says The In Between is a win for anyone in desperate need of a tear-jerker, giving the film 3.5 stars out of 5.

Clocking in around two hours, The In Between may seem to have a bloated runtime at first glance. However, it never feels to be dragging things out for no reason. Each flashback sequence fleshes out our characters just a little bit more, and even the eventual depiction of the accident itself is necessary to the endgame. I already loved the song, but now INXS tune “Never Tear Us Apart” has officially shifted onto my permanent playlist. It would have been easy for The In Between to be just another throwaway romance; instead, this supernatural love story is one for a new generation to obsess over endlessly.

Nell Winow of Movie Mom grades the movie a B and says The In Between is a good next step in Joey King’s transition out of The Kissing Booth franchise.

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.

It sounds like The In Between offers a good opportunity for a sob-fest, if that's the kind of thing you're into. The critics mostly enjoy Joey King and Kyle Allen in these roles, and they've proven to have enough charm to carry some of the heavier themes of this movie. The In Between is available now to Paramount+ subscribers. After this movie, be sure to check out the other best Paramount+ movies available, as well as our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what's coming soon. 

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.