Written by Sabina Ibarra
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain Wes Bentley, David Gyasi, Michael Caine
Christopher Nolan’s space epic captures in a flurry a of love for film, magnificent cinematography and takes us into the far reaches of where humanity can go as encapsulated by the story of a man fighting for his family’s future. Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a single father who peaked when an accident took him out of the field of engineering and test piloting. In a future where the fate of Earth is quite bleak, he farms corn — one of Earth’s last remaining natural resources to support his family. Everyone on Earth is designated to contribute to their survival, and there’s no talk of adventure or possibilities that don’t benefit the entire human race. Cooper’s young daughter Murph (played by Mackenzie Foy) gets into trouble because she takes after her father, dreaming of a different purpose for her future than just being on the farm. That’s a stillness of the story the audience settles into before it gets shaken up like a snowglobe.
Now the flurry, while full of wondrous spectacle and heart, launches so much at the audience that it’s hard to process or even really attempt to describe the science presented and the quantum ideas presented in the film. It’s a simple story of a man’s odyssey to find a solution to a problem that may not have one, through finding another habitable planet, but also having to deal with the possibility of not being able to return home to his kids. After some mysterious activity beings in their house, like sand marks on the ground in morse and a stray drone, Murph leads her dad into the destiny he left behind to be a provider. They find what remains of NASA as they seek to send a crew out to a wormhole on the rings of Saturn that could lead a few potential habitable planets. Michael Caine plays Professor Brand who deduced this mission was the last hope for humanity, assembling a team that includes his daughter Amelia (played by Anne Hathaway) to reach out and see if it was time for humanity to leave Earth. The crew just so happened to be short a pilot until Cooper and his kid make their way to the hidden base. Cooper gets enlisted while Murph figures out the morse code, which spells out ‘Stay.’ Mackenzie Foy who plays a young Murph delivers an incredibly emotional performance in attempting to stop her father from leaving, one that opens the floodgates of McConaughey’s many manly tears.
Now this is where the plot gets lost in the complications and an array of unnecessarily drawn out scenes. Yes, the practicality and landscapes were awe-inspiring, but the audience sat in it for too long. The sweeping shots of space and amazing environments the viewers were in ultimately crippled the pacing of this film. When it gradually moves back into the meat of the story, the transition appears clunky at best. Wes Bentley and David Gyasi’s Doyle and Romilly really only function to be expositional characters. They gave textbook explanations on all the science on the planets surrounding this black hole. The dialogue was laden with many scientific terms that weren’t written to be understood by just anyone.
When things take a turn for the worse for Cooper, time passes on Earth much quicker as his crew briefly falls into a different planetary time plane. Murph becomes an adult and is hard at work with Dr. Brand on trying to support her father, Amelia and the team. The adult Murphy (played by Jessica Chastain) is steely and focused on holding her father up to the promise that he will return. The strength the actress portrays as a scientist hellbent on finding a way against the elements that keep them apart is rivetting. The contrast in McConaughey’s determination coming from a more emotional place plays well against it, despite their distance. Cooper is scared, fighting his way through situations people wouldn’t otherwise encounter and the character is completely engaging from start to finish.
The remnants of Cooper’s crew figure out what to do to find if any of the other planets are habitable. Inevitably they come face to face with moral challenges on deciding where to go. Amelia pushes to go to a planet where an earlier explorer whom she loved was, mainly due to the idea that love transcends everything, even science. The theme of love goes on to become the heart of the film. It becomes everyone’s primary motivation to make huge sacrifices when they deal with the reality of their mission.
Without giving away too man significant plot points that transpire in the last act, the film is filled with visuals and character stakes that hold up due to Nolan’s grand orchestration of the story right till the end. The seasoned sci-fi fan will note the foreshadowing and guess what type of film it is, but the journey is worth experiencing for any movie lover. Audiences get a lush picture on IMAX film, something movie-goers don’t get much of these days. Viewers won’t get assaulted with a movie that’s a green screen show. The places that the actors travel to and the challenges that they face are even more visually captivating through their performances taking place on these real locations. Hans Zimmer’s score beautifully heightens the beauty and terror of space.
Sure, ‘Interstellar’ has it’s flaws. It presents some incredible situations where it becomes hard to suspend your disbelief, but the core relationship between father and daughter will keep everyone’s attention. Everyone wants Cooper to make it back, and because of that viewers are gonna sit through all the crazy situations that transpire. In the end everyone will be on the edge of their seat, eager to see see if he makes it back home.
‘Interstellar’ is out in theaters now.