Interstellar is an exhilarating space opera that brings the intricate details of science down to Earth, humanizes a group of relatable and likeable characters, provides a solid emotional core, inspires child-like wonder from the audience, and ranks among one of Christopher Nolan’s best films. Inspired by classic films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars, Interstellar is a return to the renaissance of science-fiction filmmaking.
Like many of Christopher Nolan’s films, like Memento and Inception, Interstellar takes a very intricate plot and humanizes in a modern and tangible way. While the brilliant plot does require a lot of investment from the audience, it never treads into the area of “sci-fi mumbo jumbo”. In fact, this is one of Nolan’s most emotionally powerful films, which primarily focuses on a paternal bond between a father and daughter, which remains a constant presence across the film. The emotion and plot are melded together brilliantly in a way that complements itself.
This is also one of the most visually stunning films of the year. The vast depth put into creating environments is remarkable throughout the film, and contributes to the sense of wonder that the film tries to emulate from the audience. The editing, by Academy-Award nominee Lee Smith, is great throughout the film. At 169 minutes, the film rarely drags and manages to develop its ideas and themes fully, though some moments might’ve benefited from expansion, though these where likely cut for length. Hans Zimmer’s score ranks as one of the years best. It’s a very simple score, but like many of his collaborations with Nolan, adds to the weight of the film’s intense and emotional moments.
Like many of his films, Nolan manages to get great performances from his actors. Matthew McConaughey continues his streak of great performances as a father forced to leave his children behind on Earth. McConaughey brings a great relatable sense to the film and brings the humanity in a film full of otherworldly elements. Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, and David Gyasi all make up McCounaughey’s team and are good, though outside of Hathaway could’ve received more development. Michael Caine, a regular Christopher Nolan collaborator, also does a great job at bringing both a dramatic sense to the film’s literal plot and emotional core.
The performances by Mackenzie Foy and Timothee Chalamet as the young children are both full of life and emotion, and add a great emotional draw for the rest of the film. Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck are both fantastic as McCoaughney’s grown children and really add a motivation for the plot, both for Earth’s deterioration and an emotional motivation; Chastain is worthy of an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Topher Grace, John Lithgrow, and David Oyelowo are good in minor roles, and though they deserve a little more development and screen time, add a lot to the film. But the most surprising performance, and one of the best of the film, is Matt Damon. Damon delivers a brilliantly layered and heartbreaking performance that ranks among his most unique performances and one the best minor supporting performances of the year.
Interstellar is a uniquely beautiful and inspiring films of the year. It ranks as one of Christopher Nolan’s best films and one of the best films of the year. Though science fiction films have slightly dropped in their popularity in the last few years due to the success of comic book films, Interstellar marks resurgence for the genre that provides the hallmarks of a great sci-fi film in terms of a great story and characters. A remarkable cinematic achievement, Interstellar is a stunning and inspiring film for the ages. Grade: A