The moment you first see the trailer for Interstellar, you know you’ll be back in that seat looking for the epic film you’ve just been promised. The majestic vistas, intergalactic storyline and intensely emotionally performances bode well. Christopher Nolan (Director) tackles what initially feels like too much, ultimately delivering something special, replete with emotion and beauty in its intricacies.
The beauty of this particular film does not lie within the precision of the scientific theories upon which the plot is based, but the possibilities of thought beyond that which we know for sure. The unknown remains as fascinating as ever and Interstellar capitalizes on this in the best possible ways. Though technically scientifically flawed in spots, this movie explores possibility in an exciting new way which only serves to greatly enhance the plot.
Interstellar is essentially the story of one man’s attempt to save the human race from extinction. The premise is simple and familiar, but that’s pretty much where the simplicity ends. Most everything else about this movie is complicated as what. Sure, some of the science is a little wonky, but I’m OK with that. I suppose it’s sort of the point that the science doesn’t line up precisely. Everything in this movie, despite looking familiar, is new. Looking at old problems with renewed perspective is what makes Interstellar interesting while simultaneously leaving it open to scientific critique.
Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), our fearless leader on this journey, is a man that feels as though he was born in the wrong era. He’s bright, analytical, straightforward and charming. He’s a farmer in the not too distant future, but he used to be a NASA test pilot and engineer. The world Cooper inhabits looks much like the one we live in today, but it’s markedly different once you look past the surface.
Life on Earth has changed; there are no more armies, soon there will be no more food, and storms, which coat the land in a shroud of suffocating dust, threaten to choke the last bit of life out of humankind. The future no longer seems bright, but instead it dims with each passing hour.
Cooper’s a perceptive guy, he pays attention to the details and he senses that life on our planet is beginning to fade. He doesn’t cling to the false optimism everyone else utilizes to keep going. He’s afraid, but not so much for himself—he’s afraid for his kids. He doesn’t see them getting the opportunity to live full lives, like he did, before he was forced to leave his life as a test pilot and become a farmer.
One day, Cooper and his ten-year-old daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy) stumble upon some information, which leads them on a mission of discovery. On this journey, they cross paths with NASA and Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a former colleague of Cooper’s that he knows from his test pilot days. Professor Brand confirms Cooper’s fears and explains that our planet is indeed dying at an alarming rate. Lucky for Cooper, Brand and his team at NASA, have been working on a plan to save all of humanity. This serendipitous meeting between Cooper and Brand gets the professor thinking. He remembers how skilled Cooper was as a test pilot and sees no better time than the present to set his planet-saving plan into motion.
Matthew McConaughey, delivers an intense performance as Cooper. He’s likeable, honest and he knows how to level with people. Cooper will cut right through the bullshit like a hot knife through butter, but not in an aggravating manner. He’s sensitive, but not soft—a survivor. McConaughey gives Interstellar the heart and soul it needs to enable the audience to suspend scientific “reality” and open up their minds to vastly different perspectives on things such as time and space.
Anne Hathaway is excellent as Amelia Brand. Brand is on this mission to save humanity alongside Cooper. She’s a slightly short-tempered and mostly analytically-minded scientist with a low tolerance for intergalactic comedy. Hathaway brings us a warm soul, sharp mind and a quick-witted, likeable female lead through Amelia Brand. She’s the perfect counter to Cooper’s constant goofiness and reckless nature.
Interstellar is an epic journey to be sure, but as we’ve seen in the days since it’s release, lots of folks aren’t happy with the scientific shortcomings of the movie’s plot. I’ll admit, there were a couple of times throughout the film when things didn’t seem to add up. At one point, I saw something that seemed to make no sense, unfold on screen. I’ll spare you the details so as to not spoil the movie, but when it happened, I peeled my eyes off the screen and took a look around at the people sitting near me. I looked over at my husband and then to the people on the other side of me and wondered, “Does anyone else think this doesn’t make sense?” And then, just as quickly as it came, the moment passed. I remembered that I had come to the movies to watch an innovative sci-fi story unfold in IMAX, not for a lesson in astrophysics. As with all movies, there are times when you need to suspend reality in order to understand the story that’s being presented and, in this respect, Interstellar is no different.
Toward the end of this film, things get really interesting. The theoretical science that’s presented alongside Nolan’s dramatic and emotional narrative converge to open up possibilities moviegoers might never have contemplated regarding space and time. It might not make sense at first, even if you paid close attention throughout the film and that can be frustrating. For me, it was fascinating. Personally, I don’t like having all the answers. That’s likely because I’m all about possibilities and lucky for me, that’s also what Interstellar is all about–possibilities.
If you’re looking for a science fiction epic that will approach space exploration and relativity in a way you’ve never seen before, Interstellar is for you. The stunning visuals, while awe inspiring, play second fiddle to the emotion that bleeds from every heart-felt performance in this film. Emotion is at the core of this movie and it hits you right in the throat during the first scene, and holds tight, until the very last. This is an incredibly satisfying look into a future, which feels eerily close to the world we live in today. The unique approach to relativity alone makes this movie worth watching; the theoretical science throughout makes it worth watching again. This is one of those movies you won’t want to miss and if you have the means, see it in IMAX. You won’t regret it.
Interstellar – A-
A- = Sure, there are some pitfalls in this movie, but they’re quickly forgotten by the time you’re knee-deep in the story. This is the kind of thing I go looking for when I go to the movies and I trust you’ll enjoy it if you keep an open mind.
Image Source: The Hollywood Reporter