'Interstellar': The reviews are in...
Interstellar features Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, but it’s the rare Hollywood film where the director is the unquestioned star. This is a Christopher Nolan joint, from its epic scope, its tangled storytelling gymnastics, and its unrivaled insistence on NSA-level control and pre-release secrecy. The director, who made his name with the backwards-running Memento, and burnished his reputation with the Dark Knight trilogy and the mind-bending Inception, goes all in with Interstellar, an ambitious tribute to the film that most inspired him: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In the near future, Earth is slowly starving and suffocating, and scientists warn that the planet’s children will be the last generation to survive. Enter the remnants of NASA, led by the brilliant Dr. Brand (Caine), who has detected a wormhole near one of Saturn’s galaxy. Aliens, God, or some form of higher intelligence has placed it there and is beckoning mankind to use it as a gateway to other possibly habitable planets. McConaughey plays Cooper, a former Air Force pilot turned corn farmer who’s recruited to join the space expedition to save our species. Answering the call, however, has a major personal drawback: he might never return, a fact that stings his 10-year-old daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) and racks Coop with guilt.
Of course, Coop ultimately goes, and what awaits his team of astronauts is a space voyage—tethered to real science and time-space theory—that audiences have never quite experienced before. “Nolan, as ever, understands awe,” says EW‘s Joe McGovern. “In Inception, a city street folded onto itself. Here, in a set piece of terrifying grandeur, an ocean wave as perpendicular as a canyon wall hurtles forward. Later, in a little wink of a scene, kids play baseball in a neighborhood where the houses curl up and over the field.”
Interstellar is the kind of event film that excites critics, but it’s also one that might take years before a verdict is finally reached. For a “first rough draft” of Interstellar‘s place in cinematic history, read more of EW‘s review and a roundup of notable critics.
Joe McGovern (Entertainment Weekly)
“Interstellar, [Christopher Nolan’s] sci-fi spectacularama helixed around a father-daughter love story, is a gamble like no other in his career. It’s his longest film, his headiest, his most personal. And, in its square-peg-in-a-round-wormhole stab at being the weepy motion-picture event of the year, it’s also his sappiest.”
Scott Foundas (Variety) ▲
“An enormous undertaking that, like all the director’s best work, manages to feel handcrafted and intensely personal, Interstellar reaffirms Nolan as the premier big-canvas storyteller of his generation, more than earning its place alongside The Wizard of Oz, 2001, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Gravity…”
Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun-Times) ▲
“It contains some of the most memorable, most breathtaking outer space scenes since Kubrick’s masterpiece, but there’s as much spirituality as science at play here. Here is a Hollywood blockbuster about wormholes and the theory of relativity and black holes and extra dimensions, but its theme song could well be ‘All You Need Is Love.’”
Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) ▲
“But though it’s a big studio blockbuster with all the traditional plot elements the term implies, Interstellar turns out to be the rarest beast in the Hollywood jungle. It’s a mass audience picture that’s intelligent as well as epic, with a sophisticated script that’s as interested in emotional moments as immersive visuals. Which is saying a lot.”
A.O. Scott (The New York Times)
“It may be enough to say that Interstellar is a terrifically entertaining science-fiction movie, giving fresh life to scenes and situations we’ve seen a hundred times before, and occasionally stumbling over pompous dialogue or overly portentous music.”
David Edelstein (New York)
“My hunch is that, given their clout, no one is permitted to examine the Nolans’ scripts for what a scientist might term “massive narrative anomalies.” … I wonder if the Nolanoids will even care … that the ending is so goopy it makes you grateful that back in the day Stanley Kubrick opted for arty obscurity.”
David Denby (New Yorker)
“There’s no doubting Nolan’s craft. … In particular, the crew’s rough-ride stress is exciting from moment to moment, but, over all, Interstellar, a spectacular, redundant puzzle, a hundred and sixty-seven minutes long, makes you feel virtuous for having sat through it rather than happy that you saw it.”
Richard Corliss (TIME)
“Trying to reconcile the infinite and the intimate, [Interstellar] channels matters of theoretical physics—the universe’s ever-expanding story as science fact or fiction—through a daddy-daughter love story. Double-domed and defiantly serious, Interstellar is a must-take ride with a few narrative bumps.”
Todd McCarthy (Hollywood Reporter)
“Where Nolan takes his big leap is in trying to invest his wannabe magnum opus with an elemental human emotion, that between parent and child; it’s a genre graft that has intriguing wrinkles but remains imperfect.”
Rene Rodriguez (Miami Herald)
“McConaughey’s required to play practically every emotional note imaginable, and he hits them all. Hathaway isn’t quite as convincing as a scientist, and she also gets the movie’s worst speech, but she’s passable and doesn’t ruin the movie.”
Ty Burr (Boston Globe)
“Throughout, McConaughey is understated and magnificent, exactly the man you want leading this mission and this movie. Interstellar eventually coughs up an explanation of sorts, but it’s one of those conceptual Moebius strips that dents your head with circular logic; the more you think about it, the less it scans.”
Overall Metacritic rating (1-100): 73
Rotten Tomatoes: 72 percent
Length: 169 minutes
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine
Directed by Christopher Nolan