‘Interstellar’ Film Review – Christopher Nolan’s Sci-Fi Epic Occasionally Soars

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Interstellar Movie Review with Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey in ‘Interstellar’ (Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon © 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. and Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

“We’re not meant to save the world; we’re meant to leave it and this is the mission you were trained for,” says Professor Brand (Michael Caine) to ex-pilot, engineer/farmer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) who’s just been picked by what’s left of NASA to pilot the last mission to attempt to save mankind in the sci-fi action film, Interstellar.

The story’s set in the not-so-distant future on an Earth that’s been devastated by drought, famine, and massive dust storms that cause a severe scarcity of food on the planet. While the planet’s become less hospitable and the end of humanity is possibly in sight, a rip in the space-time continuum is discovered making it possible for mankind to travel outside our galaxy in an attempt to discover a planet capable of sustaining human life. Leaving his young, distraught daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy), behind with her brother and grandpa (John Lithgow), Cooper pilots a group of astronauts and scientists including Brand’s own daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway) aboard the spacecraft “Endurance” through the newly discovered wormhole in search of three possible worlds that might be able to sustain human life.

However, time on the other side of the wormhole and its planets is different than in our galaxy and one hour on one of those planets is equivalent to seven years back on Earth. With time running out for the people on Earth and not having enough fuel to check all three planets, the astronauts and scientists must decide which planet is mankind’s best hope for survival. This means Cooper must face his greatest fear…that he might have to abandon any hope of seeing his children again for the future of the human race.

Masterfully directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar is a visually dynamic, space traveling adventure with two stand-out performances. Matthew McConaughey shines as Cooper, the grounded astronaut turned who became a farmer out of necessity to feed his family who yearns for one more chance to go back up into space. Torn by his desire to help save the world but not wanting to abandon his family, especially his 10 year old daughter, McConaughey delivers a sensitive and touching performance of a father determined to save his family and desperate for his children’s love and understanding.

A wonderful breakout performance is delivered by Mackenzie Foy as Cooper’s daughter Murph. The scene in her bedroom where she begs her father not to go and then realizes he has no idea when or if he is ever coming back is sure to have the audience holding back their own tears with a big lump in their throats.

The film’s look, production, and visual effects are mesmerizing, bringing to life vividly other worlds, stars, space stations, wormholes and the vastness of space. If you’re at all interested in the film at all, Interstellar should be seen on the big screen in IMAX and not first viewed on home video.


Unfortunately, the film is not without a few problems including the miscasting of Anne Hathaway as Amelia Brandt. She’s completely unconvincing as the socially awkward scientist who hides a few important secrets from the crew and has her own private agenda for choosing one of the three planets to explore.

Nolan’s Interstellar also drags a little more than halfway through with the tedious scenes back on Earth between the adult Murph (Jessica Chastain) and her estranged brother, Tom (Casey Affleck). In truth the first half of the film is the strongest portion of the movie with strong dialogue and an intriguing story powering the first half. It’s in the second half of the movie where the script gets bogged down and cluttered and the pacing starts to crawl with too many sub-plots and storylines.

Still, with breathtaking visual effects and a compelling performance by McConaughey, Interstellar is a space and time traveling adventure for anyone who’s ever stared up into the night sky and imagined journeying amongst the planets and stars.

GRADE: B-

Interstellar is rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.

– Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty

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Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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