To the followers of Nolan, I agree that Interstellar is stellar, if not, one for the classics. For the haters, the purists with their rigid Science hammers, go on, deconstruct Nolan’s world all you want. I leave the debate on how scientifically accurate a 3 hour sci-fi is to our physicist friends.
”Do not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rage at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
We go to the unchartered territory of the family and the social ramifications of Nolan’s world. At first glance, the premise of Interstellar is near-future environmental catastrophe coupled with cultural defeatism.
A world* where people live in a dystopia, not like the state-run “authoritarian” regime defined by the middle class nightmare in adult fiction (read: Hunger Games and The Giver), but a humanity that has astonishingly abandoned our current consumerist culture. One main protagonist talks of conspicuous consumption as if it’s a thing of recent past. However, Nolan toys with that notion, not in a revolutionary sense wherein people topples down the moribund system driven by capital. Instead, he painted humanity three generations away from us, as having an existential crisis.
In a world where many things are deemed to be excesses, space travel has been dismissed as too lucrative for a humanity waiting to be extinct. However, tension builds up as the relationship of Coop-Murphy is based on a mutual longing for higher aspirations. A familial journey set in separation and reunification of father and daughter.
Both the lead male/female characters are productive in science, determined to transcend the limited spaces of their social coordinates. Nolan would refer to the structures in his films as ‘geometry,’ the same bounds that “Coop” (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murph, tried to resist.
Resolution of humanity’s crisis begs Coop to find self-transcendence and this time, literally travel through time and space, while the earthbound daughter finds purpose in deciphering the codes transmitted by her father. Notice that similar voyages are embarked by the familial pair, one in physical space and the other in the intellectual realm.
The narrative promises a new generation, Anne Hathaway casted as Amelia Brand is set to start a human colony in another planet. However, the latent message is mothering, the Gaea in which Amelia is forced to play, will cease to be relevant until America has triumphed to gain a new world and a territory. Once again, a fixation of a current superpower, an obsession with capital, and in this case US mono capitalism IS the end of history. And for the final straw, it is up to the selfless and resourceful men (Coop akin to Nick of Gone Girl), to set things straight, to make the world safe for mothering again.
Beyond being stellar, Nollan, brought humanity’s frailties to a (family) drama. The silences of the movie on issues of food insecurity and wars waged in the name of survival would have been an interesting angle. Yet again, supply and demand curves (and politics especially) don’t make for very good sci-fi. Still, I am a believer of science fiction as a simulation of our present realities, hopefully interpreted as social critiques.
Or you can just watch Interstellar for the ride.
*world is used as a Bless-America-and-no-place-else kind of world, with no traces of other first world nations, and expectedly silent on the third world.