While Interstellar has been out since Nov. 5, it has been a topic of debate all month, though there has not been as much debate in regard to why the film is much more than an average sci-fi movie. The film’s audio and complexity have both been hotbeds for debate, especially in regard to the scientific soundness of the plot. In the grand scheme of things, however, Interstellar is not a science fiction film; it is a film about humanity and the way people live. Please note this opinion piece contains spoilers and would best be read by someone who has seen the film.
At the heart of Interstellar, there is a complex push and pull for the morality of humanity. Each of the characters represent a different way of living life and interacting with humans, making the film very similar to Silver Linings Playbook’s attempt to make every character represent a different mental issue. In Interstellar, we have the hopeful, the pessimistic, the moral, the corrupt, the deluded, and the good.
Matthew McConaughey’s character Cooper lies in the middle of the film, representing an optimistic, hero-esque catalyst for morality in the film. His paternal instinct to protect and save his family drives his entire storyline, but also causes him to have trouble viewing humanity as a single entity. Professor Brand, acted elegantly by Michael Caine, however, represents the opposite of that revelation, since his morality is conflicted. As is revealed in the end of the film, he was aware of the futility of his work and he lied to Cooper in order to have the mission proceed. The morality of this is complex, though, because he deceives Cooper and the rest of his team, but with the intent of allowing the human race to proceed across the stars long after the Earth’s demise.
The characters become increasingly more complicated as the film progresses. Murph, Cooper’s angst-filled daughter, is irrationally blameful for the majority of the movie, whereas his hopeful son remains so until devolving into a similar disdain for his father. Toward the end of the film, his son becomes defiant in his pride, so much to the point where his pride nearly dismantles and kills his family.
Dr. Mann, Matt Damon’s character, is a representation of deeper complexes of humanity: fear and survival. He attempts murder and nearly forsakes the human race as a result of being nearly forsaken himself, even though he chose his fate. Mann’s addition to Interstellar is immensely important, because he is the pessimistic, even resentful divide between himself and courageous characters like Cooper and Brand.
Brand furthers the point that Interstellar is much more than a science fiction movie. She turns to love and basic humanity in the face of extinction despite factual evidence, a primal resort to basic emotions being the one constant factor across all universes. That revelation, despite its cheesy delivery, is an intriguing one since the film struggles to find common ground between galaxies as time withers away. The film finds that common ground utilizing humanity.
Interstellar is permanently etched as much more than a science fiction film at the end of the movie when Cooper sacrifices himself so Brand can proceed with the mission. This heartfelt, painful moment of truth seals the fate of the human race with Cooper’s sacrifice, which in turn, actually becomes the catalyst for the entire film. Interstellar’s use of the cast representing the spectrum of humanity and how humans interact and feel emotion makes it very different from average science fiction films. On top of its clear political message, the film becomes a social commentary on humanity by the end of the three-hour epic.
Opinion By Brett Stewart