A Subud Guy Goes to the Movies (Interstellar)
Please enjoy the first in a series of movie reviews by Subud Portland’s Norman Babbitt. A movie buff, he loves to discuss the latest releases from Hollywood and will give us his perspective as a Subud guy. Here’s his first review of an older movie, but one he loves:
A Subud Guy Goes to “Interstellar”
From director Christopher Nolan comes this mythic, cosmic odyssey of the heart, starring Matthew McConaughey, Mckenzie Foy, Anne Hathaway, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Matt Damon and Ellen Burstyn. The main characters, played by McConaughey and Foy, give, what for me, are rapturous performances (I was going to say “stellar” but that would be cheating). McConaughey is unrelenting through the whole film in viscerally communicating his character’s desperation, out of passionate, fatherly love, to connect and reach “just in time,” through the matrix of space/time, his (by the end of the film) now older than himself, aged and dying daughter. We find that right from the first scenes of the film that their love was stretching back through time and it is the innocence, genius and wisdom of the daughter, along with the undying love and faith of her father that, together, wins the day.
There is both an outer and inner aspect of this film. The “outer” acts as an enhancement of and a highlighting to the “inner” radiance of the story. This is why I so love (many, not all) science fiction/fantasy films. In this review I am choosing to focus more on this underlying inner framework, since this is what stands out to me as the genius of the script, the “interstellar” context, and the very human side of this film; its most significant element, from my viewpoint.
Right at the very start of the film this inner aspect is starkly presented as a starving, dry, depleted and desolate dust storm of a world. To recognize the symbolic allegory of what has been happening in our own humanity, within western civilization, itself, a loss of faith in our own culture, of hopelessness regarding the future.
I think this film was underrated because of a misunderstanding concerning its central theme. The story was couched in a science fiction context, but it is quite explicitly, in my view, about the nature of human love, and how love reigns supreme above all else; transcending the awe of wormholes, time travel, technology, science and … well … everything.
Secondly there is the joy of inquiry, reason and the scientific quest.
Equally, it is a story about faith, belief, sacrifice, hope and aspiration, contrasted with cynicism, mere survival, selfishness and despair.
And, yes, the cinematography is spectacular. The scientific concepts of wormholes and space/time are the theatrical stage of this mythic play, within the heart, amidst the stars, back to earth and then back to the stars!
The score by Hans Zimmer, is itself an essential character in the story, giving voice to the depth and the vastness and mystery of space and time, and, yes, most impressively to the passionate love that beckons between the daughter and her father. She believes for a time that he left her without hope of being able to return, yet that was never his opinion nor plan.
Of note is Matt Damon’s ruthless, nihilistic character, willing to use any means to survive, along with the cynical son who does not believe in anything, likewise the faithless professor, played winningly by Michael Caine. These characters provide the counterpoints to the simple but ample, dynamic faith and love of the main characters. I was moved to the point of genuinely praying for both the father and the daughter. Familial love and its bonds, are highlighted by the both the daughter’s and the dad’s strong quality of perseverance and determination, welded in the other qualities of love, belief, faith and hope. And only in science fiction could this theme take on the timeless quality portrayed in this story by the paradox of time and light speed. I do not want to give anything away, but the love the father has for his daughter is sublimely illustrated by a father still young who gets to see his aged dying daughter who never completely lost her faith in her dad.
*Interstellar” is not only my favorite science fiction film of all time, next to 2001: A Space Odyssey, it’s one of my most treasured movies in all genres. I believe it may take years or decades before it is appreciated as the masterpiece it is.