The Movie Date: Interstellar

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The Movie Date is a weekly feature where we discuss movies that may appeal to the YA audience. Andrew is The Reading Date’s resident movie critic and this week he discusses Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan. 


Interstellar movie poster


With Earth slowly dying from crop infections, an ex-astronaut/farmer is approached by a secret NASA team to scout out another planet for mankind to call home.

Director Christopher Nolan has carved out a niche for himself making glossy, heady, high-concept thrillers. I liked his Batman trilogy and loved Inception, but felt the latter’s tricky dream-within-a-dream structure distracted from its heartfelt theme of loss and forgiveness. With Interstellar I think he’s finally gotten the balance right: though the science behind the film might require an astrophysics degree to appreciate fully, the plot itself is relatively simple: astronaut leaves behind his family on Earth and fights like hell to get back. And hopefully save the human race while he’s at it…

Cooper’s (Matthew McConaughey) a widowed dad living in a blighted Midwest that’s slowly undergoing a choking Dustbowl blight. He loves his son but is particularly close to his whip-smart daughter Murph. A mystical event leads them to a secret NASA base hidden amidst the fields, where kindly Professor Brand (Michael Caine) and his scientist daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway) explains Earth’s certain demise due to the blight. A spaceship is leaving soon to travel through a wormhole near Saturn to research three planets that might sustain life; will Cooper pilot the craft? Longing for adventure and keen to save mankind, he’s eager to go. But poor Murph knows this means she won’t see Dad for years—if he comes back at all. And she claims that another mysterious message is spelling out the word STAY.

Of course Cooper heads for outer space (or we wouldn’t have much of a movie). Time passes differently in space, and while Cooper has barely aged at all, Murph has grown into a woman (played by Jessica Chastain). More to the point, she’s become a brilliant scientist, now working with Brand at the NASA base to solve some crucial issue involving gravity that will allow mankind to create colonies. A black hole spotted by Cooper and Amelia may hold the answer, but nobody escapes from those…

Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck in Interstellar (Warner Bros.)
Jessica Chastain as Murph and Casey Affleck as Doyle in Interstellar (Warner Bros.)

In Interstellar, a hell of a lot of noisy and exciting stuff happens in space, but the simple relationship between father and daughter is truly the focus of (and key to) the story (even though the two can’t talk in real time). McConaughey and Chastain are superb as usual, but as the brave, smart, and inexperienced Amelia, Hathaway does some of the deepest and most complex work of her career. With the film’s hard sci-fi focus and nearly three-hour running time, I don’t know how many Reading Date readers will put this on their must-see lists. But if you give it a shot (or get dragged to it), I think you’ll enjoy seeing Christopher Nolan explore a brave new frontier: the human heart in all its abiding mystery. 


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4 thoughts on “The Movie Date: Interstellar

  1. I don’t care for sci-fi, space, or McConaughey so I probably won’t see this one. I have a feeling it’ll be big at the box office without me!

    bermudaonion (Kathy) recently posted: Review: Revolution
  2. I really want to see this, but I had no idea it was so long. That alone might kill the deal for me. But glad you enjoyed it Andrew!

  3. It didn’t feel like a 3 hour movie at all. And I agree that Ann Hathaway was really good. She tends to bug me but not so much in this. I don’t think it’s my favorite Nolan movie but I enjoyed it and it definitely makes you think.

  4. stacybuckeye says:

    I agree with everything you said. I was surprised I liked this one. At times, it seemes like it tried to do too much, but it was just so much fun. I ejoyed all three hours 🙂

    stacybuckeye recently posted: Thanksgiving Quiz

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