Christopher Nolan’s 2014 Interstellar, a thought-provoking mind-bender about wormholes, black holes, time travel, fifth dimensions, and love triumphing all — wow– just listing the goals of the film makes me exhausted. It’s a grand attempt with jaw-dropping effects and solid acting by Matthew McConaughey, Michael Caine and Jessica Chastain. Anne Hathaway’s performance was disappointing as was Matt Damon’s performance as the portly, good scientist turned bad.
The science, the principles of quantum mechanics, linked to the fiction, and the prediction of our world in the near future had me ruminating about the film for weeks. Did Nolan get the science right? I opened up the Time, November 2014 article written by Jeffrey Kluger, where he kindly separated the scientific theories for me as well as answered how accurately they were portrayed in the film. The verdict? Much of it was plausible. You are welcome to read all about it HERE.
Or better yet, if you are like me whose knowledge of physics extends to the arm-chair, Top Documentary Films on the internet is an excellent index. I recommend the series Into the Wormhole narrated by Morgan Freeman. Specifically, in season two, try watching this episode “Are there more than three dimensions?”
I think I get it. We’ve been accustomed to three dimensions–length, width, and height for a long time. Then Einstein came up with time as the fourth dimension, and Interstellar toys with the concept of a fifth dimension. Did you know the “string theory” suggests there might be eleven dimensions with just as many, if not more, universes out there?
Interstellar included some Inception tricks like a space station with a bendable horizon. I loved the imagined foreign planets that might be suitable for human existence–a water-world with colossal tides and it’s opposite, a bleak, desert-world. There are other nice touches in the film like the replication of a dust storm blotting out sight and air tagged with the recollections of survivors of the U.S. Depression in the 1930s. There were many details that Christopher Nolan did right with Interstellar like his interpretation of a wormhole, or his characters aging (or not) to illustrate the effects of time travel. I can’t condemn him for aspects that seemed inconceivable such as the role the black hole played in the film.
It seems unlikely that a ship could orbit the lip of a black hole and not get sucked in. It seems unlikely that anyone could travel through a black hole and survive spaghettification. But how thrilling to imagine going through one! I loved the fifth dimension played out on the screen. All of humanity rests behind the book shelf? Far fetched, yes, but I was too wowed by the story-line and the attempt of representing scientific theories to find much fault with plausibility. Instead of finding fault, I commend the audacity of Christopher Nolan for creating another mind-bending, intellectual treat. It was worth the price of admission, and you bet, I’m going to buy a copy.
It is expected that fiction will bend the rules for the sake of the story; at the heart, Interstellar tells a love story. The reunion between father and daughter is nothing short of miraculous. So what if it probably couldn’t happen? Its magnificence lies in the imaginative spirit of Nolan. It is as visually stunning as Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. That’s saying a lot.