Christopher and Jonathan Nolan’s meditation on the meaning of love is a heartening departure from the “shock and awe” tendencies of modern science fiction. The oversight of executive producer and theoretical physicist Kip Thorne ensures that the semantics of the dialog is coherent. While I don’t believe that the theory of wormholes is going to hold up in the long run, that consistency does ensure that audiences will not be too confused to grasp the central message: there are experiences that are accessible only to people joined in loving relationships.
While there is a great deal of beautiful deep space imagery in the film, the dramatic tension comes from the human response to a terrible crisis: the loss of agricultural productivity to wide-spread blight. At the low end of the social scale, the desperate struggle of farmers develops, over the years, into a stubborn determination that extinction, when it comes, must be faced in the company of those we love. At the opposite end are the privileged scientists and engineers of a “Noah’s Ark” project, launching explorers through a worm hole into another galaxy – explorers that, despite the nobility of their intentions, suffer very natural moral and psychological collapse due to the futility of their lonely efforts.
On the one hand, I am disappointed that it is the most violent and destructive of all astrophysical phenomena that is advanced as the backdrop for the discovery of the subtle power of love. I could complain that the team of explorers could not possibly have survived the challenges they faced. However, that would detract from the main proposition: they succeed because they care. Ultimately, that caring links into a chain of causality that loops back in time when human consciousness escapes the confines of our familiar reality. I guess that I would have to admit that it is no more difficult to swallow than the Savior returning to life after his own journey through time.
On the other hand, the film pays homage to Earth in subtle ways. I waited through the end of the credits and learned that the movie was shot in film. The beautiful planetary settings can be enjoyed right here.
But, of course, so can all of the sublime miracles of loving. Let’s hope that this film helps to open the minds of a generation that has been fed on destructive pap that preaches success through balls-out aggression. They need to spend more time understanding the nature of personality. I am a firm believer that we shouldn’t abandon the Earth, nor do we need to. We simply need to restrain our selfishness and apply ourselves to helping it heal itself. There’s far more power available to us than is required – we simply need to surrender our personal concerns and use it to love the nature that we’ve wounded.
It would help if the behavioral psychologists would stop telling us that it’s improbable, not to speak of the physicists who believe they have proven that it’s impossible.