The movie industry has witnessed numerous box office hits throughout the 21st century. A couple that come to mind are The Avatar; The Avengers: Endgame; Lord of the Rings; the list goes on. All of those big scale movies have brought their own unique taste to the table; yet one movie has solidified itself as a genre-bending philosophical take on humanity: Interstellar.
For those who didn’t see it (and you should definitely see it!), the plot revolves around a team of scientists exploring outer space to find a future for humanity, which is about to be wiped out. It definitely sounds like a cliché science-fiction script (2001: A Space Odyssey anyone?), and there have been plenty of movies that centered around a plot where the protagonist of the story seeks the solution to possible doom of humankind. In most of those movies, you see that the story focuses on the main event that threatens humans and how it can be overcome. The characters adventure through several difficulties on the way and finally reach the answer to save humans from a tragic end. However, oftentimes, such movies forget about what truly lies under a journey where humans fight to survive: the existential nature of humanity.
We don’t need to find our determination to survive, by means of a catastrophic event that is about to sweep us away from the surface of the Earth; no, we exert that passion every single day as we live. Humans, no matter how tough the conditions get, always strive to live another day. And what makes humans such skillful survivors, you might ask? Well, the answer is very simple: we keep dreaming. We carry our hopes and emotions through every single day, so that we know that we exist. This is what most of the science-fiction movies lack, they fail to grasp what it means to be a human in a complete manner. And that’s why, Interstellar moves beyond a generic science-fiction persona and establishes itself as a panoramic documentation of humans in general.
The movie starts with a father departing from his daughter; to go on a scientific mission to find habitable planets for humans. At the very beginning of the movie, we are presented with sadness and desperation of parting. Even in the first scene, Interstellar takes us on an emotional journey of characters. As the movie progresses, we witness how the characters experience their individual journeys with respect to their personalities. However, what remains the same is their human nature. Even light years away from their home, Earth, in the darkest, deepest corners of space, humans continue to exist in their very foundations. Since the time moves in different scales for Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and Murphy (Jessica Chastain), father and daughter experience the suffering of this departure on different levels. Yet, what remains stable between them is the love they have for each other. This is how Interstellar separates itself from other science-fiction productions. The movie shows that what humans feel, think and cherish moves beyond the physical limitations of the universe; they exist without being time bound.
As the movie progresses, we see the team of scientists experience different events on the way. They go through a worm hole in which they interact with their past, present and future; they land on a planet where giant waves terrorise its surface; but time and time again what really pulls the audience inside is how characters show personal changes throughout the story. In the end, when all the hope is rediscovered and the humanity is saved; all that is left is what we had at the beginning: being human.
That’s why, across the industry giants, Interstellar remains as the best movie of the 21st century so far. It reminds us that what makes a good movie is not the cast, story or the special effects: it’s the ability of a movie to interpret humans while representing its judgement. That’s what makes Interstellar a genre-bending philosophical take on humans.