Interstellar (2014)


Space terrifies me. There’s something about the vast, silent space that spooks me. So for me, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is like a horror movie. When Romilly (David Gyasi) mentions that there are just a few sheets of metal separating them from outer space and death I found myself nodding, ‘yes, indeed.’ No way am I ever being launched into space. I almost didn’t see Interstellar because of my fear and because I’m not really interested in space. But I’m glad that I did go see it. There’s nothing else like it, it is a truly unique film that pairs science with an emotional storyline.
What I liked the most about Interstellar was how immersive the experience was. There were a few moments when I genuinely felt I was there, experiencing things alongside the other crew members. These moments, like going through the wormhole, truly touched me. I can’t remember the last time I had such an awe inspiring cinematic moment like that. These kinds of moments are when I really loved Interstellar.
When I went into Interstellar my expectations were not very high. I am not a huge Christopher Nolan fan. I like The Dark Knight quite a bit although I feel that it is overly long. Inception I have only seen once because I thought meh, it’s okay. I absolutely love The Prestige though, that movie blew me away and really surprised me. I feel with Nolan’s films that there are always a few aspects that he gets wrong. His movies are way too long. Most good movies are about 2 hours long, rarely are good ones any longer. I get sick of sitting around for much longer than 2 hours, unless it’s a really engrossing film. Nolan’s movies seem to always be around the 3 hour mark. Too long for my liking. The women in his movies seem to always be two dimensional and weak or uninteresting. And I also find that his movies lack emotion or heart because of his relatively cold directing style. And also, there’s never any sex. I’m not a perv, but come on, Nolan. Sexuality is a big part of what it means to be human.
Having said all that I feel that Interstellar is an improvement on all those fronts and a step in the right direction for Nolan. The running time is still quite long and my bum was getting a bit sore by the end. I felt the beginning of the movie was a little slow and too heavy on the exposition. Actually the whole film is exposition heavy, but I can forgive it at certain parts. Since I’m not into space or science I think it was better that the film explained a lot of things. I also hated near the end having to watch Murph yet again looking at her bookshelf and arguing with her dad, etc. I understand it was emotional for Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), but I wished I could hit the fast forward button.

Jessica Chastain as Murphy Cooper.
Jessica Chastain as Murphy Cooper.

In terms of the portrayal of female characters, Christopher Nolan has mildly improved. Murphy is fleshed out quite well. I think that is mostly due to the incredible acting of Jessica Chastain. I’ve never really liked her in anything I’ve seen before until now. Here she has a lot of depth and emotion behind her eyes. She’s especially impressive in her scene by Michael Caine’s bedside (side note: could they not have made him physically age somehow?). My problem with Murph was, how can she hold onto so much hatred towards her father for 23 years? Wouldn’t she eventually matured and understood that he was trying to save the human race? If not, then why was she so devoted to the same cause? And then, since early on the movie goes to great lengths to establish that Cooper and Murph are very close during her childhood. How can she entertain, even for a second, that Cooper abandoned her and her brother in order to save himself? That rang so false and untrue to me.

Oh, I forgot, the woman is also the one who makes the dumbest decisions! Anne Hathaway as Amelia Brand.
Oh, I forgot, the woman is also the one who makes the dumbest decisions! Anne Hathaway as Amelia Brand.

And then there’s Brand (Anne Hathaway) who is the stereotypically difficult female member of the crew. *Yawn* Not only that, but of course the woman is the one motivated by love. Cooper is too, but no one ever tells him that’s wrong and that he should think too clearly. That he’s being ‘too emotional.’ I laughed when Brand admitted she was in love with Edmunds. It was just so typical. I wish Nolan, and his brother, Jonathan, who co-writes his films, would get a little more imaginative with his female characters.

Matthew McConaughey gives an emotional and (inter)stellar performance.
Matthew McConaughey gives an emotional and (inter)stellar performance.

If Christopher Nolan’s other films are somewhat cold and calculating, Interstellar is his warmest film to date. It’s all about love and the bond between a daughter and her father. Even though there were times when I questioned Murph’s feelings towards her father, I believed in Cooper the whole time. The love he had for his children was genuine. Although he so obviously favored Murphy that I felt sorry for his son, Tom (a waste of Casey Affleck). There is no mention of Tom at all at the end, I found it very bizarre. Anyways, Matthew McConaughey was very good in Interstellar. I especially loved the scene in which Cooper watches videos from his children (well, mostly Tom) that span 23 years. It was just so heartbreaking to see something like that. I don’t think Matthew was good enough to get an Oscar nomination, but who knows. The actors in Nolan films don’t get much love from the Academy aside from Heath Ledger.
Overall I think Interstellar is a good film. I have some problems with the characters and exposition, so that keeps it from being amazing. I will give Nolan kudos for making a huge blockbuster that makes the audience think about what they are seeing. And Nolan also still manages to surprise. Which is a real treat in this day and age of spoilers and overexposure (there’s one cameo that I was quite surprised by). I’m glad I saw Interstellar. It scared me, surprised me, and ultimately challenged me. And it also made me want to read some Dylan Thomas again. 8/10

6 thoughts on “Interstellar (2014)

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