Written, directed and produced by Christopher Nolan, the film Interstellar, released in theaters on October 26, 2014, is a splendid science fiction film with a “stellar” cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon and Timothée Chalamet. We tell you the plot, the project behind the film and some curiosities. And know that reading this article will surely take you less than watching the entire film, which lasts almost 3 hours!
What is Interstellar about?
Crops are scarce and sandstorms are slowly asphyxiating humanity. It is in this context that Joseph Cooper and his daughter Murphy discover, not entirely by chance, the coordinates that will lead them to the secret headquarters of NASA which operates secretly.
Cooper finds Dr. Brand there, dreaming of another world. Scientists on a mission to another galaxy have released data suggesting that three planets are habitable.
Cooper returns to duty with other scientists, including Amelia, the daughter of Dr. Brand. Cooper does not hesitate to abandon his children with no guarantee that he will see them again someday, due to the relativity of time.
The crew sets off with a heart full of hope and then the expedition sours. Planets don’t keep their promises. Worse still, Dr. Mann turns out to be a bad guy, for sending incorrect data so as not to be alone on the planet he was on a mission to. Despite everything, Cooper manages to regain control of the situation. Time is running out, though. He decides to sacrifice himself for Amelia to continue the mission and reach the last planet.
Floating in space, a black hole sucks him in. Cooper finds himself trapped in a time corridor through which he can communicate with his daughter. He gives her the items he needs to save the world. As a result, the time corridor closes. Cooper is then miraculously recovered by a probe, because his daughter saved the world.
Cooper sees her elderly daughter as she had hoped, after she survived the planet’s extinction. For her part, Murphy sees her young and triumphant father, who promised her he would return.
Dad kept his promise. He now he can go back to find Amelia.
Topics of Interstellar
The father-daughter relationship
Cooper and Murphy are linked by a passion for science as the bad winds of the collapse of civilization condemn their interests. Only the primary needs of humanity are imposed and shown openly to avoid revolt and awareness. It is in this dystopia that the characters in the first part of the film evolve with the beautiful sequence of the recovery of the drone.
A part of mystery, which not even the scientific spirit of the father and daughter can explain, then takes over. Cooper and Murphy admit that the “ghost” is actually an unknown intelligence that sends them a coded message by means of gravitational waves that alter the dust on the ground.
Once again, father and daughter are linked to this beautiful sequence of Murphy hiding under the blanket as he had already done in a first sequence with the consent of his he father. It is their filial tradition that makes Cooper admit that his daughter can follow him this way on the military base. On the contrary, when he takes the car alone to embark on the Endurance, his daughter is not there, she cries and screams in the house while the camera stares at the steering wheel of the car like the tear of their separation.
The communication between the father and the daughter will then take place much later, through the “tesseract”, the infinity of temporal chambers that allow you to communicate at the moment you want through gravitation, the only force able to cross time and space.
Since the complex message of scientific data cannot be satisfied by the movement of dust on the ground, it is through a Morse code, transmitted to her daughter’s watch, that Cooper tries to communicate with her. He knows the emotional strength of this watch given on the day of their separation, which will allow Murphy to delve into the mystery of the hand movement long enough to understand its meaning. Without this common object, communication would have remained on too basic a basis.
Finally, returning to O’Neill’s cylinder in orbit around Saturn where humanity has taken refuge waiting to reach the hospitable planet of Edmunds, Cooper sees a very old Murphy, on the verge of death. Murphy, now older than her father, plays the normal role of the parent who leaves their offspring free to fulfill their destiny. Cooper will then think about finding Amelia.
The dying planet
The dying planet theme has had many narrators, but Christopher Nolan, director, screenwriter and producer of the film, surpasses them all thanks to his ability to build a complex system, which however appears simple and understandable to the viewer. Within the confines of the script, he concludes the plot with an ending that attempts to provide answers to an immense mystery concerning time, space, the origin of life and the conformation of the Universe.
There are many links to Kubrick’s famous “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The latter, however, differs from the film Interstellar, because the answers to the initial questions of the film, the director Nolan tries to give them without leaving anything unanswered. This choice may seem too simplistic at times, but it shows courage, especially when it comes to topics like space expedition, interstellar travel and Einstein’s relativity.
What is science and what not?
The film takes the trouble to give plausible explanations for the distortions of time in the face of gravity, the black holes and trajectories of the spaceship and even the time chambers of the “tesseract”. The visited planets each have a particularity that is hardly seen elsewhere, although the threatening ocean is also found in Solaris (Tarkovski) or later and much less convincingly in Star Wars 9: The Rise of Skywalker (J.J. Abrams, 2019 ),
Robot Tars doesn’t look like a man. There is no possible confusion at this level. Tars is benevolent, autonomous but not too much. His sense of humor is configurable from 0 to 100% as is his frankness. Tars remains completely devoted to its creator. Asimov’s three laws on artificial intelligence are perfectly respected by the robot Tars who does not hesitate to sacrifice himself to guarantee the future of humanity.
In order to guarantee the scientific nature of the film, at the beginning we had turned to astrophysicists who prepared a report to explain issues such as black holes, wormholes etc, one of all Kip Thorne. Thorne, in an interview shortly after the release of the film, said that what was suggested was totally upset and that the film is not faithful to scientific theories.
The plot of the 2008 screenplay
In the screenplay of 2008, from which the film is based, there were fewer emotions, but more answers and concreteness. Here, Cooper is unable to keep his promise of finding his daughter, Murphy. The data to save the Earth is communicated through a probe. The famous aliens appear on the screen, with the added bonus of Chinese robots. And we’re also entitled to a zero-gravity sex scene! In short, everything is more concrete.
Christopher Nolan then eliminated the aliens, multiplied the planets, imagined the Lazarus Program, introduced a ghost story … The whole plot refocused on Cooper, on the human aspect of things.
The curiosity is that this 2008 story was written by Nolan, but not by Christopher, but by his younger brother, Jonathan, writer and screenwriter. It is clear that there is a lot of difference between story and film, perhaps Nolan (Christopher) wanted to give more hope with a positive ending and I think he made the film more epic and suitable for cinema.
Another curiosity concerns Big Bang Theory. It seems that Nolan, for his film Tenet, took inspiration from Sheldon Cooper. And Cooper is also the surname of the protagonist of Interstellar … a coincidence?
We also remember another Cooper who worked for the police … Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks! But to stay on the subject of The Big Bang Theory, Kip Thorne as the host of the show’s final season boasts of having participated in the creation of the film (episode 18)!
But let’s conclude this roundup of anecdotes with an unsuspected film that pays homage to Interstellar: Thor, Love and Thunder. In the film Dc Comics decides to give the role of the villain to Christian Bale, the incarnation of Nolan’s Batman and continues to pay homage to the director by dedicating an entire scene to him. While Dr. Jane Foster is doing chemotherapy she meets a fan who is reading her book on black holes or warmholes. To explain the functioning of the latter, the doctor cites Nolan’s film and in the same way as Dr. Romilly, takes a piece of paper (the page of her book itself), folds it in half and makes a hole with a pen that goes through both of them.
Why watching Interstellar?
Regardless of whether it is scientific or not, Interstellar is an exciting and captivating show. In it, the parts of time come together in an intense and pressing mechanism. This fundamental fiction offers the viewer a compelling visual experience that it owes to its amazing special effects and original music. The soundtrack for the film was commissioned to composer Hans Zimmer, who previously edited the soundtracks of the Batman trilogy and Nolan’s own film Inception.
It is only through a masterful mastery of photography that a Warner Bros film like this, costing millions of dollars, can be made with its fantasy plots that feature three planets, plus Earth, but also a black hole, inter-space tunnel. And obviously a spaceship!
But what is more important is not only the fascinating space travel of some people to remote places in the Universe, but also what happens to their minds. At this stage, perspectives change, but also what these people understand and what they leave aside, sometimes fatally, to embark on other journeys and other discoveries.
Interstellar is a complex, fascinating, captivating film. Above all it is a work built with substantial means to ask other questions about humanity, about the complexity of man and his tireless and mysterious desire for knowledge.