Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Interstellar’ Review: Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway & Jessica Chastain

Surprising, intense, gorgeous, remarkable and original, it’s nearly impossible to put every emotion about Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar into a single written review. One of the most mind-blowing films in recent years and led by another gripping performance from Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar is a film that will only become better and more significant upon each viewing.

Set in the near future, Interstellar tells the story of Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a father and farmer who must leave his two young children to go into space on a mission to save the human race from extinction. Cooper’s son Tom (Timothee Chalamet) is more understanding of the situation, while his youngest child Murph (Mackenzie Foy), who he and his late wife named after Murphy’s Law, is more upset that her father will be going away for so long without knowing for sure when he will be returning home. Left in the care of their grandfather (John Lithgow), Cooper drives to the sole remaining NASA headquarters where he will be the lead pilot of the crew going into space.

With the direction and planning of Professor Brand (Michael Caine) and a few other scientists who work at NASA, including his daughter Dr. Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley), Principal (David Oyelowo) and a genius computer named TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin), Cooper leads the team of scientists into space in search for another planet who can sustain human life.

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Matthew McConaughey is easily considered one of the best actors working today and has sky rocketed to the top of the legitimately talented actors list in Hollywood. Obviously fantastic in last year’s Dallas Buyers Club and HBO’s True Detective, McConaughey has proven himself as a true talent, but his best role to date is here in Interstellar. Cooper is a multi-layered character and McConaughey perfectly balances the emotionally charged father and the man who needs to pilot the spacecraft and guide the mission to save humankind. There is a particularly wonderful sequence of McConaughey watching videos on the spaceship that are just absolutely heartbreaking.

Anne Hathaway is especially lovely as Dr. Amelia Brand who is willing to do anything and everything to find another planet in the atmosphere that can sustain human life. Jessica Chastain is exquisite as Murph, Cooper’s grown up daughter, though I wish she were in the film more than she was. No matter if she’s the lead or a supporting character, Chastain has always been able to give a memorable performance. Michael Caine, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Casey Affleck, Ellen Burstyn and Mackenzie Foy are also great and serve well in Nolan’s Sci-Fi masterpiece.

There’s no doubt that Nolan is one of the most innovative directors in the business, but Interstellar sets the bar high for future films set in space and science fiction films in general. Nolan, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan, used absolutely no green screen in the film and opted for practical set pieces and effects which make the film feel much more genuine.

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Hans Zimmer’s beautiful and lyrical score is a character within itself in the film. Though Nolan shuts off the sound completely in certain sequences of the ships in space, it’s Zimmer’s score that moves the film forward with its trance-like quality.

The few final scenes in Interstellar seem a little too tied up at times and some of the dialogue may come off as a bit cheesy, but Nolan’s overall film is unlike anything we’ve seen this year.

Interstellar is a film that is bound to be misunderstood, and at times even being tossed aside, but like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, it will be studied and talked about for years to come. Christopher Nolan has created a mind-warping, thought-provoking science-fiction masterpiece, yet the heart of the film is about a trying relationship between father and daughter. Led beautifully by Matthew McConaughey and with Jessica Chastain in a performance to remember, Interstellar is one of the years best.

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