Skip to content

Review: Interstellar


A good test of a movie, I think, is to let it digest for a few days and then ask yourself: Having digested this movie, was it nutritious enough that anything stuck to my bones? With “Interstellar,” the answer for me turns out to be no.

“Interstellar” is highly entertaining. It’s fast-paced, very smart, and beautiful to watch. There are strong character elements, with well-paced emotional peaks and valleys. In short, it’s a great experience at the theater (I saw it in IMAX). But not much sticks to the bones.

The sport of second-guessing director Christopher Nolan’s science seems to have quickly faded from the media. I’m not hearing any Oscar buzz. I don’t think it’s just me. I don’t think it’s sticking to many people’s bones. Still, I love it when Hollywood makes science fiction blockbusters.

Was “Interstellar” an environmental movie? One of the flaws of the movie, in my opinion, was that it tells us too little about what had happened on earth and was in too big a hurry to get into space. And having gotten into space, it lingered a little too long. Matt Damon could have been written out of this film with no loss at all. Clearly back on earth there was some sort of climate disaster, and lots of people died. Clearly this led to ugly cultural changes and what seemed to be a kind of leftist fascism. But that’s all left vague. It’s almost as though the director is in a hurry to abandon the earth and get on with an earth substitute made with technology. There is an ugly whiff of techno-utopianism: earth is disposable; superior people will save our plebeian asses, but only just enough of us to assure genetic diversity.

The word “existential” shows up a lot in things written about Christopher Nolan. That is very appropriate. Nolan seems allergic to approaching anything with the scent of the collective about it. He does not concern himself with values. With Nolan, very little is shared. Everything is seen through the eyes of single individuals, and they all see something different. I’m not necessarily criticizing existentialism in art, but existentialism tends to involve heavy exertion while on a low-protein, high-carb diet.

Should you see “Interstellar”? By all means, in IMAX if possible. But go out for a burger afterwards, because you’ll probably leave the theater hungry.

You also won’t feel the need for another Matt Damon or Matthew McConaughey movie for a long, long time.


  1. Henry wrote:

    But Matt Damon will soon be Jason Bourne again – I can’t ignore that!

    Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Permalink
  2. James-Michael wrote:

    I agree with your assessment of this movie. It lacked in many areas, especially with regard to the missing information about the climate/crop crisis that occurred prior to the events of the movie. I love science fiction generally. But this movie left me feeling emotionally empty and overridden with existential angst. There was a horrifying element of loneliness depicted in the movie – a feeling of being cut off from everyone and everything that might bring a sense of meaning. At the end of the movie, there was a long rambling narrative with this quote: “Alone in this strange Galaxy… She’s settling in for the long nap…” And then something about finding a sense of meaning by going home. This left the audience with a terrible jolt of loneliness and a horrifying awareness of the reality that we are all alone in our individual experiences and perceptions. The whole evolutionary ramblings of the characters was rife with speciesist and the narcissistic view of humanity as needing to survive at any cost. There are other species on Earth and in the galaxy that might be more worthy of existence than Homo sapiens. It was a dreadful hodgepodge story telling process that was irksome, devoid of consistency, lacking in providing a coherent message, and the characters were uninspiring at best. I still don’t really understand the point of the movie – what was it really trying to convey? Perhaps not much that we do not already know. It was 3 hours of my life that I feel were wasted with such an uninteresting story that was not worth my attention or the resources used to create it.

    Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *