Ah Matthew McConaughey, have I ever really loved any film you’ve been in? You’re often a charmer but it’s a smug, chauvinistic sort of charm, especially in those dreadful romcoms you did back ten years or more ago. Mud was okay but I’ve just scrolled through your filmography on IMDb and the answer, really, is no. So why did I bother with Interstellar? I had a vague impression that it was interesting and, being about space, I thought it might interest my Starship Troopers-loving husband whilst also engaging our brains. It did neither.
In an apocalyptic America reminiscent of the 30s dust bowl, Cooper (McCharmaughey), an heroic ex-NASA-testpilot tries to eke out a living in a world that is dying. The only hope is to leave Earth in a big spaceship to travel through a conveniently-placed wormhole to visit some other people who were sent out a while back to find new, habitable worlds. Cooper is the man because he can fly stuff but he’ll have to leave his two children, although it seems only a big deal that he’s walking out on his 10-year-old daughter Murph.
He and Anne Hathaway and some other lesser-known actors (who therefore we doubt will survive) head off and there’s a cool but depressing concept where time travels at different rates for them because of a black hole or something. Imagine offering to mind the spaceship while your crew mates pop down to check out a planet and when they return a few hours later it’s been twenty years for you. Now that’s overtime.
American theoretical physicist Kip Thorne was an adviser and he insisted the film makers, Christoper and Jonathan Nolan, not violate any established physical laws. So why does it all feel like hokum? Right from when they get beyond the water-covered planet it starts to go a bit silly, with everything too neatly plotted and overly meaningful. Gloriously, heroically, American; saviours of the world, benders of time and space.
Bechdel test – pass (but I really really want to give it a fail as it passes only on a fleeting conversation right at the start)