“My father was a farmer”.
This is how a newly-released space adventure movie Interstellar begins. Not a typical start for a presumably another Hollywood science fiction blockbuster, is it?
Well, perhaps because the movie is rather a drama, not a sci-fi action. Directed by Chistopher Nolan, an accomplished director known for his intellectual and thought-provoking works, including hits like Inception and Memento, Interstellar offers a colourful mosaic of planetary challenges, interstellar travels, human choice and sacrifice, thrilling action, philosophical dialogues, dense physical theory and science, intellectual puzzle and love drama, humor, stunning visual effects and epic music. And all of these elements were put really nicely together to form a strong and decent movie that is absolutely worth watching.
I don’t want to talk much about the plot here which does not seem to be that original at first glance (although it gets like a roller coaster as the movie unfolds). According to the story a former NASA pilot Cooper, a father of two teenage kids, is set on a mission to find another planet for our mankind that faces extinction due to the dust bowl causing drastic shortages of crops and food on Earth. But what is really interesting is what drives the main character’s decisions.
A qualified engineer and a pilot, Cooper is forced to be a farmer, and so will be his children. Yet as a scientist he maintains his insatiable thirst for exploration:
We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.
And this is one the movie’s most important spots – the idea that we have a higher mission and need to strive for it no matter how life treats us. Not only a collective space exploration mission like shown in Interstellar, but also an individual mission or life calling for each of us.
Cooper chooses to go on his mission, no matter how hard the sacrifice of leaving the family behind is; no matter how scary the chances of not coming back may be. Indeed, it takes courage to pursue your dreams.
The second central thought of the movie, in my opinion, and which is also linked to the fist one, is that human beings have a stunning capacity for adapting to literally anything and performing well in extreme situations. Coopers’ response to the co-pilot’s “This is not possible.” is “No. It’s necessary.”
I strongly believe – and this is what the film’s director reveals too – that we all have hidden super powers. One of our goals on Earth is to try to utilize as much of that capacity as possible. And a way to do so is keep challenging ourselves, keep the inner fire burning:
We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we’ve barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.
Last but not least, one of the brightest contentions in Interstellar is:
Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.
The movie depicts a love line between Cooper and his female co-pilot Brand. Yet I believe the director’s message was deeper than that.
We are all connected, one way or another, and the Earth is our common home.