Beware, kinda-spoilers ahead.
Recently I had the good fortune to see Interstellar again, but this time in a 70mm IMAX presentation. It was a good excuse to see a friend again, but I was also excited because I know that Christopher Nolan knows his craft and how to make the most of film as a format.
To say I was once again stunned by what a difference presentation makes, is an understatement. Rambling about how everything is amazingly life-like and overwhelming in 70mm and/or IMAX seems a hipster sort of point to make. But with such a visual medium as film, the visual presentation matters. It’s why I was such an early evangelist for “letter boxed” films and why I would spend time every few movies tweaking my television toward the optimal image I could get at home.
However, the opportunity to see the film again gave me reason to reflect on why I love it so much.
Christopher Nolan’s style speaks to me. Something about how he edits a film, how he mixes the sound, and how he writes a story, connects with me on some fundamental level I have trouble describing. Interstellar, as much as anything else he’s done, achieves this magnificent feat.
It’s to a point where I don’t understand why it isn’t universally loved the way I love it. I encountered the same problem with Dark Knight Rises. When I saw The Prestige I had trouble understanding why it didn’t receive more acclaim. Heck, even Insomnia left me wondering why it wasn’t more successful or well-received.
And Interstellar takes it to another level. It’s accused of being cold, which I think is insane. The message of love overcoming all obstacles, of a father’s devotion to his child being a bond that cannot be broken under any circumstance, of everything that we’re missing as humans now as we stop looking outward and only look down…how is it that people are missing this poetry?
But above all else, this film is a love letter to children from a parent who understands parenthood the way I do. Children are not a burden, or an addition, or a trial to endure. Children are a joy and a hope. They are the best part of us. They are the reason to strive for greater things. They are the reason to endure when all odds are against you.
Interstellar is many things, but most of all it is a reminder that our responsibility as parents is to stand tall and push forward. When the conventional wisdom is to tell our children not to dream too big, we are supposed to defend the dream. When the world wants to think small and petty things about reality, we are supposed to teach them faith and perseverance…not despair and surrender.
Nolan’s movies, at their core, speak to hope. In Interstellar, everyone has given up hope except for the hero, who is not the one we expect it to be. The hero is the one who walks behind him, the child who learned his example to keep trying always for the solution.
It took me two showings to find the words for why I love Interstellar. But the more I think on it, the more I love it. It is everything I love about science fiction, in one magnum opus. It is grand and it is informative. It is ambitious and it is well-crafted.
It is meaningful.
Am I a Christopher Nolan ‘fanboy’? Yes I am. Interstellar is a wonderful reminder why.
P.S. The score by Hans Zimmer is unbelievably good.