Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s newest film starring Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, is a film fundamentally about family.
Sure, it’s a sprawling science-fiction epic about the survival of humanity that transcends space and time, but at its core, Interstellar is about a father and his daughter, and to a lesser extent, his son. The case could be made that it’s about two fathers and their respective daughters in fact.
The film suffers from Christopher Nolan’s tendency to be over-ambitious (functioning almost like three distinct hour-long vignettes spliced together). However, the emotional, familial core of the film brings the different strands together, uniting the myriad of themes, questions, and characters.
McConaughey’s character leaves Earth to try and save the human race, promising his daughter, Murphy, that he will return. The most tender and heart-breaking moments are those shared by McConaughey and Chastain, who plays adult Murphy. Their connection drives the plot and works because of phenomenal acting by both Chastain and McConaughey.
The film questions the worth of individuals, asking whether saving those you love matters more than saving all of humanity. The bonds of love, romantic and familial, are explored and have a key role to play in the resolution of the film.
A beautiful sequence towards the end of the film illustrates the transcendent nature of familial love, connecting individuals across divides of space and time. While the film is agnostic about God (and could be construed in some sense as anti-theistic), this sequence is of particular beauty and importance to Latter-day Saints.
The family relationships play a key part in the resolution (which was a bit too neat for my taste), illustrating the importance of family. This unification of family across time and space resonates strongly with many value systems and LDS theology in particular. The visualization of the ideas is thought-provoking and gives some interesting insight into the connection between the living and the dead, as well as potentially how God views the world.
Despite its flaws, Interstellar is a thought-provoking, well-crafted, well-acted piece of filmmaking. The centrality of family and human connection to the plot and thematic questions creates a film that has an emotional punch, touching threads close to many of us.
Written by Conor Hilton