Mackenzie Foy

“Interstellar,” the latest blockbuster from director Christopher Nolan, manages to secure the trifecta of convincing emotion, stellar effects and an overall creative design. It utilizes the enormity of outer space to its full advantage, showing off incredible worlds and expansive galaxies. The movie soars, thanks to its breathtaking scope and enormous size. It also delves into the emotional connection between family and highlights how that bond is tested from great distances.

As severe weather threatens Earth’s dwindling food supply, former space engineer Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, does his best to protect his family from the unforgiving dust storms that plague the country. After he and his young daughter Murph, played by Mackenzie Foy, stumble upon the remains of NASA, Cooper is offered a chance to lead a team on the most dangerous mission possible — finding a new planet in a far off galaxy in order to relocate humanity. Crushed to leave his family behind, Cooper, along with fellow astronaut Amelia Brand, played by Anne Hathaway, ascend into the dark recesses of space to seek a new home.

The magnificent aspect of the film is the sheer size of the world constructed by Nolan. It’s enjoyable to experience the massive set-pieces he has dreamed up, even though they all are similarly barren and deadly. The combination of practical and computer-generated effects blend perfectly to forge an almost tangible universe. The vast, quiet emptiness of the solar system is beautiful and contends with 2013’s “Gravity” for the best cinematic presentation of outer space. Even Nolan’s depiction of Earth as a desolate land blanketed in dust is an entertaining place to traverse, as well as an ideal setting to introduce characters.

The connection between Cooper and his daughter, as well as his relationship to the rest of the crew, fuels the story. Nolan shows how their bond is able to transcend both time and space, as he examines how the variation of time can impact the relationships of the crew members and the people left back on Earth.

While McConaughey is great as the caring, emotional Cooper, it takes a while to buy into his role as a down-to-Earth genius. By the time the narrative reaches the first of many emotional climaxes, however, he is able to pull off the heartbreaking portrayal of a man sacrificing everything for his family and home planet. Hathaway is solid as the determined crew member, but she is underplayed and lacks a strong presence. Foy is stunning as Cooper’s wise and headstrong daughter. Jessica Chastain also makes a great unexpected appearance.

The only issue with “Interstellar” is a confusing narrative packed with exposition-heavy dialogue. While the film is obviously a science-fiction epic that has to dive into jargon-heavy explanations, it is difficult at first to go along with the scientific concepts blended in with the story. The plot is complicated and, while fast-paced and emotional, seems to hide its failings and inconsistencies behind the science.

“Interstellar” is a gigantic, ambitious film that is occasionally thought-provoking. Although the narrative is patchy in a few places, it delivers an emotional punch that will resonate with anyone who has ever sacrificed for someone else. A great leading performance by McConaughey and some of the most magnificent special effects ever used to illustrate the galaxy make “Interstellar” a noble addition to Nolan’s brilliant filmography.