When writing movie reviews, I try to take a balanced approach, to talk about the best and worst points of the film, and let the reader decide if it’s worth his or her time. This will not be such a review, because I loved the hell out of Interstellar. Christopher Nolan’s latest is a big, beautiful, unabashedly enthusiastic tale of adventure and discovery. Much gushing to follow; you are warned.
The story begins in the near-ish future, with the world languishing in the wake of a sort of quiet apocalypse — less Mad Max, more global dust bowl. Crops are failing, famine and drought have diminished the population, and humanity has resigned itself to eking out a meager existence for what is likely to be its final decades before extinction. This resignation sits poorly with Cooper (Matthew McConnaughey), a restless engineer who dreams of space travel while caring for his elderly father-in-law and his two kids. Cooper’s daughter Murphy shares her father’s curiosity and restlessness, and early scenes between the two touchingly portray them as kindred spirits. This father/daughter relationship will become the emotional core of the movie, and manages to be every bit as compelling as the Big Giant Space Adventure, which all things considered, is pretty impressive. Ah yes, the Big Giant Space Adventure; the movie is called Interstellar, after all, even if it takes its time getting off the ground (literally). Due to a series of strange events that I won’t even try to describe, Cooper is recruited by the remnants of NASA to pilot a mission to a distant galaxy in hopes of discovering a habitable planet to be humanity’s new home… and we’re off.