Interstellar: Fighting For What You Love

Image Credit: Movie Pilot

Image Credit: Movie Pilot


Last Friday, director Christopher Nolan released his latest work Interstellar.  While on the surface this film is about traveling through a wormhole to find a new habitable world, at its core it’s a love story between a father and daughter that transcends time and space.  The film was so powerful—in its storytelling, visuals, and musical composition—that I watched it twice within the past four days since its opening.

But alas, this is Never What You Think, not At the Movies, so let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

Amidst the number of themes, one of the more prominent ideas was the concept of fighting for survival.  Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” was quoted at least four times throughout the film.  Like its space odyssey contemporary Gravity (2013), Interstellar deals with the idea of survival.  However, this is not a cold Darwinian version of survival—we fight to survive to keep those that we love safe.

Throughout the entire film, protagonist Cooper is faced with near-impossible situations to overcome.  Blight eats up all his crops, forcing him to only make corn.  Cooper loses 23 years of his life and discovers that their mission’s intel is weak.   The ship is low on fuel.  Cooper’s oxygen tank is sabotaged.  The list continues.  Despite these horrendous obstacles, Cooper does not allow “fate to take its course,” because he knows that if he throws in the towel, his daughter back on Earth will die.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Fight for what you love.

This is the anthem for scientists, people who have failed thousands of times before arriving to a suitable conclusion.  This is the anthem for pioneers, people who have struggled over different landscapes just to reach the other side.  This is the anthem for anyone who has cared about another individual to the extent where one would lay down their life for him/her/them.

But is that the only mindset?

A few months ago, I wrote a blog on the movie Boyhood (2014).  While these two films now stand as my personal favourites of the year, they ironically present somewhat different messages.

As mentioned in my earlier blog about Boyhood, the film indirectly explores the idea that we don’t seize the moment, but it is rather the moment that seizes us.  I greatly align with this message as I recall all the joyous moments in my life—they all came to fruition because of something that was out of my control.  You can call it serendipity, you can call it a Higher Power—all I know is that there was at least some element that I could not seize that created these wonderful memories.  Some even happened without my desire for it to happen.  Even in Interstellar, Cooper found the shuttle mission completely by accident.  In fact, sometimes when I do fight so hard for something to work, hubris gets in the way, which turns my sandcastles to rubble.

So I’m stuck in the middle.  Whatever the case, neither path provides instant results and both paths bear just as much struggle.  But I know that deep inside, I am a fighter of what I love.  I more than recognize the value in standing up for what’s right and what you hold dear.  However, I can’t help but notice that some things are meant to be processed and happened to rather than fought over.

Or maybe I’m just a wuss.

But what I do know is that we were meant to explore—for everyone, maybe not the stars, but definitely our relationships.  We were meant to push past our own complacency to find new lands or resurrect old ones.  Whether that’s something we seize or is something that seizes us, there will be resistance, and we can’t just throw in the towel, especially when it’s love that’s at stake.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

About Jonathan Seligman

Jon is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of NWYT. While his main profession is in education/music/history, he has a deep passion for philosophy, theology, ice cream, and everything else that life has to offer. See All of Jon’s Posts

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