Disclaimer: This is not a review. It is a brain dump of my love for this movie.
This blog (and probably most blogs) will start with an anecdote for two reasons. 1) I like them and 2) The location and circumstances under which I view a movie is often burned into my brain and nearly always is recalled while rewatching. So…
It’s October 26 2014. Picture colorful leaves, chill autumn wind and the barely contained excitement in the air of a college campus on the precipice of Halloween. My roommate (and best friend) and I decide to catch a movie in the evening but we’re late to the theater. Our 7:15 showing of Big Hero 6 is not happening. Ugh. But we’re here, in the lobby scanning the red, neon signage for another potential flick. And almost simultaneously, we notice the single word title. Interstellar. I like space. She likes space. She also likes that it’s not one of the half dozen horror films playing at this time of year. So, without an inkling of prior knowledge about the plot, we buy tickets and head into the showing of a lifetime.
Now, if you have NOT seen Interstellar, I implore you to please turn back and watch it first. This ramble is spoiler heavy, probably won’t make much sense without movie knowledge and it’s a film that deserves to be experienced. Because it is very much an experience.
Written, produced and directed by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, Interstellar takes us along on the journey of an ex-nasa pilot that leave his family behind on a dystopian earth with hopes of finding refuge for them on new planets beyond our solar system. The cast comprised of Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and (a Nolan favorite) Michael Caine, are phenomenal in their roles. Mackenzie Foy as young Murphy stands right up to par with her older and more seasoned cast mates. Masterful cinematography from acclaimed Hoyte van Hoytema paired with an exceptionally crafted soundtrack from Hans Zimmer (Cornfield Chase lives rent free in my head 🤷🏽♀️), the effect is a stunning nearly 3 hour long saga that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
If asked, I could not pick a favorite scene of the movie, but I could pick a favorite line of dialogue. In one of the very last scenes, Cooper asks old Murphy how she knew, against all odds and any rhyme or reason, that he would come back. And she looks at him, misty-eyed, and says “Because my daddy promised me.” Without fail, I cry. Maybe because my father and I always watched movies together and so a father/daughter film is more impactful to me. Maybe I remember that feeling, of being a little girl and knowing without a doubt that daddy’s promises were absolute. But I do think that line comprises both the central theme and central relationship of the film.
To this day, the relationship between Cooper and Murphy is one of my favorites parental/child bonds in film. Murphy idolizes her father and Cooper encourages Murphy’s passions in science and critical thinking so much so that he gets her suspended from school in one scene because of his unyielding support. When her father leaves her behind to explore the stars, it hardens her in a way that affects all aspects of her life. We’re shown this on screen, especially juxtaposed by the life her brother. Murphy’s older brother who isn’t as affected by their father’s absence, Tom, is positioned to be everything she isn’t. He gets married, has children, becomes a farmer and, most notably, continues talking with Cooper even after decades of no responses. His actions highlight just how much Murphy’s tunnel vision on her father’s loss haunts her. That makes the scene where she speaks to Cooper in the hospital, surrounded by her children and grandchildren even more impactful. It was only once she realized her father was the ghost in her room, that he loved her and wanted to rescue her, that she could fully live her life. MY HEART JUST CAN’T.
Shout outs 1: to Miller’s Planet scene. It is harrowing. 2: Brand’s love speech. Love being felt across space and time is a beautiful concept. 3: Matt Damon’s surprise appearance. He wasn’t even listed on the poster!