Christopher Nolan, 2014
Murphy (Jessica Chastain) is looking for a way to save the planet while her dad is gone.
The Earth is dying. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former astronaut, leaves his two kids to go back to work for NASA. Dr Brand (Michael Caine) is sending him to space in order to help mankind to survive. There are not many options. Time is short. The crew decides to join Dr Mann (Matt Damon) on his planet, hoping it is the good one. But Dr Mann happens to be a selfish human being.
I knew the day that I arrived here… this place had nothing. I resisted the temptation for years. But I knew if I would just pushed that button, somebody would come and save me.
Cooper gets the situation under control but there’s not enough gas to complete the mission and come back. He sacrifices himself to let Amalia Brand (Anne Hathaway) make her way to the last planet. Cooper drifts towards a blackhole named Gargantua. He eventually finds himself floating in a tesseract from where he can communicate with his daughter (Jessica Chastain) so she can save the world.
The tesseract disappears. Cooper is being rescued and wakes up years later in a hospital where he reunites with his daughter (Ellen Burstyn), who is now older than him. She lets him go back to space and join Amalia.
Interstellar is about defeating time.
Time is what we all fight against. The Joker has so much to do and so little time (cf Batman). Chuck Nolan says we must not commit the sin to turn our back on time (cf Cast Way). We’re using botox to look young as long as we can. We capture it on Instagram. And yet time keeps running through our fingers no matter what we do. We try to slow it down but can’t stop it. Cooper is not trying to save the world, he’s trying to beat the clock. He’s obsessed with time, which is Dr Brand’s biggest fear.
I’m not afraid of death. I’m an old physicist – I’m afraid of time.
There are two different timeframes which are connected to two different realities:
- On Earth, Murphy and Tom (Casey Affleck) are living in a no man’s land. This is the real world. A year is made of 365 days made of 24 hours each.
- In space, Cooper is desperately looking for a way out. This is a fantasy world where time is distorted.
There is a chance Cooper might be dead already. He could have died in a crash. He wakes up from a nightmare like someone who would hope he’s not dead. He’s a NASA pilot who’s been sent by Dr Brand on a no-return mission. He leaves his kids who try to communicate with him through Skype, just like people try to talk to the dead in a cemetery. As time goes by, they lose connection because the memory of the dead vanishes. Cooper is long gone.
Once you’re a parent, you’re the ghost of your children’s future.
A theory says we see the person we love the most right before dying. I Cooper was alive, why would Murphy see her dad right before she dies, young as she always knew him?
Cooper remains pretty much alive to Murphy’s memory. He loved his daughter a lot. He loved her so much he transmitted her his legacy. What she inherited from him is his character. Cooper was a fighter who strongly rejected Murphy’s law. When everyone, including the teachers, gave up because there was no hope, no solution to the equation, Cooper kept fighting.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Murphy inherited his father’s optimism. The crops were dying. Yet Cooper was always looking up. He believed our future was in the sky, not underground.
We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down, and worry about our place in the dirt.
Cooper was a scientist who loved a good challenge. He believed in pushing the boundaries.
We’ve always defined ourselves by our ability to overcome the impossible.
He always encouraged Murphy to be hopeful. Her brother instead is very stubborn and pessimistic. They argue about it.
Dad didn’t raise you to be this dumb!
Dad didn’t raise me. Grandpa did.
Well, that’s why!
Love is a vehicle that travels through time. Love is what helped Murphy to crack the equation so we can all survive. Cooper was a leader. His daughter became a leader too. Love is what helped Cooper transmit the necessary information Murphy needed to grow, through time.
Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends time and space.
What did we keep from the people we loved? What could we transmit to the people we love? Is love the answer?
This publication reflects the views only of the author.