Conflicted over Interstellar

Rahul and I have been making pretty good use of our weekends since he’s been here. We’ve been to housewarming parties, been to comedy shows, been ice skating, been lazy, and (been to) saw Interstellar last weekend.
I had to keep the “been” thing going.

Interstellar is one of those movies that has been on everyone’s radar for months, because, you know, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN. Oh, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN makes the best movies. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN can produce trailers to movies that make no f**king sense yet we all go to the movies anyway. Oh, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN can turn us all into mindless humans willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money to see his movies in IMAX.
And what is IMAX? Please, someone, answer this question for me. 

Okay, let me back up, because this post is not a rant about Christopher Nolan. Rahul and I were definitely two of those eager movie goers, because the previews looked awesome and because Inception. So, previous track record in support, we went to the movies expecting a show.

And got one, we did. But here’s the rub: I still have no idea how I feel about the movie, almost a week later.

3ZH4ZZ8Also, you should stop reading here if you are not a fan of SPOILERS.

When I say no idea, I mean I’m conflicted as hell. Immediately after the movie, I was laughing at some of the latter scenes (the library thing? Come on) and disappointed in the “love” theme that was supposed to carry a huge portion of the movie.
I’ll say now that I was NOT gunning for Anne Hathaway’s demise, like Rahul was. 

I was also disappointed at how nicely everything wrapped up in the end, even if it was sad that Murph had aged and Cooper had not. But, seriously, they might as well have packaged the whole movie in a box and wrapped it with a big, shiny bow, because that’s how the ending felt.

At the same time, I was also fascinated by the set-up, specifically the “changed the textbooks to reflect the truth” thing. I was loving Cooper and Murph’s relationship and the whole family thing. (Better love than Amelia’s mystery man that we NEVER see). I was enthralled as the space adventure begin and saddened (or, as one of my student said, “struck in the feels”) when Miller’s wave planet lost them 23 years on Earth in a matter of about 2 hours.

And then Matt Damon happened.

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t it exactly, but it was like the movie LOST IT! The best way I could phrase it immediately post-movie was “it was trying to be too many things at once.” But seriously. A space movie, a romance, an end of the world movie, a funny movie (I did like the robots), etc etc. I lost track! And I get it now, with the movie starting with a view of the bookshelf, but I CAN NOT GET OVER HOW CHEESY THAT PART OF THE MOVIE IS! It just didn’t work for me. I’m all on board with the 23 years passing, I’m sad, I want to get back to my family, etc. But looking through the bookshelf in some other dimension? I just wasn’t feeling it. Honestly, I would have been happy if his character had died–which Rahul tells me is silly to wish because it’s a Blockbuster. But happy endings, much, Nolan? Sheesh.

After the movie, I read a couple of reviews and articles to feel better about the fact that I didn’t absolutely love a movie that everyone else (at least now) is claiming to love. It’s much easier for Rahul, he just decides and that’s that. But, knowing that this was a Nolan movie and supposedly AMAZING and BEST MOVIE EVER and ETC GOOD THINGS ETC, I felt compelled to find reviews that were as conflicted about the movie as I was. My favorite? The one that called Nolan out on his inability to create strong female characters who aren’t  bound in some way by the men in their lives. The author is spot on when she points out that Amelia, while being the only female astronaut on the mission, is “literally only on the spaceship so that she can go see her boyfriend and have babies.” She tries to derail the mission for her own personal means, looooove. Even Murph in this movie is defined by the “loss” of her father and her conflicted relationship with her brother.

After discussing it with Rahul, reading/watching stuff online, discussing it with my students, and thinking about it in my spare time (read: long drives to work), I still don’t know how I feel about it. It’s one of the movies I want to like but I just don’t know if I do, or if I can.

If you’ve also seen it and have similar thoughts, please share. I’d love to hear what others are thinking.


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