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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Ultimately this is a story about the fierce love between a parent and his children. It explores the power of the intangible, unquantifiable feeling of love; the good of the man versus the good of mankind; and the certainty that there's more in the universe than we can possibly understand. The opening lines from Dylan Thomas' poem, "Do not go gentle into that good night," are repeated again and again as a reminder to not be complacent or accept death when there's a possible solution that could save your life. Cooper encourages his children to look hard for the answers to their questions.
Positive Role Models
Cooper is an attentive, responsive father who talks things through with his kids and always answers their questions. He sacrifices time with them in order to help the entire population of Earth, but he never forgets his promise to return to them. Amelia and her father believe in the virtue of sacrificing yourself for the good of the mission, but in the end, Amelia also understands that love needs to be taken into account, not just hard science. Murphy never stops looking for a way to explain her father's absence or to rescue the people of Earth.
Violence & Scariness
Several scenes of intense, impending peril -- particularly the parts of the movie that take place in space. Several characters die -- mostly in space, but one on Earth as well. Characters are usually killed by a hostile environment, but one dies of natural causes. Two men get into a dangerous physical confrontation in space.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two adults kiss in celebration.
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Strong language is infrequent but includes one or two uses of "s--t," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "dumb ass," and "f--king."
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Products & Purchases
Dell Latitude computer, several close-ups of a Hamilton watch.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Interstellar is a compelling sci-fi thriller/poignant family drama directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) and starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. As in Gravity, there are nail-bitingly intense (and life-threatening) sequences that take place in space, but this is more than a survival tale: It's a relationship story about a father who has made a promise to his children to return to them, no matter what. The layered themes, intergalactic peril, and references to astrophysics may prove too dark and complicated for elementary school-aged tweens, but middle-schoolers and up will be drawn in by both the science and the parent-child bond that guides the central characters to keep searching for a way to reunite. Characters do die (both in space and on Earth), and there's some language ("s--t," one "f--king," etc.). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Unless you're well-versed in the physics of wormholes, don't expect to understand the intricacies of Interstellar's science. And there's a lot of science, most of which sounds unbelievable, but it gets the story where Nolan and his brother Jonathan (who co-wrote the film), need it to go -- from the dust-smothered and scorched Earth to the dangerous outer reaches of space. The visuals are gorgeous, and not just in space, where Coop and his fellow astronauts -- Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley), Romilly (David Gyasi), and the wise-cracking militarized robot, TARS, voiced by Bill Irwin -- travel from planet to planet, but also back on Earth, where time is passing so quickly that Coop's now grown children have all but lost faith that they'll see him again.
Occasionally the time-bending storyline starts to feel like it's stretching time for viewers as well, but somehow the missions -- both the one to save mankind and Coop's personal one to see his kids -- are compelling enough to keep audiences interested. McConaughey balances the line between dead serious, sarcastic, and heartfelt, and he plays well off of his co-stars (particularly his space team). Both the young and adult versions of Murphy are perfectly cast, and Caine -- whose professor has a penchant for quoting Dylan Thomas' poem "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" -- provides elder-statesman gravitas as he did in Nolan's Batman films. As Hathaway's character explains, love is a force that transcends time and space, so if you feel invested in Coop's promise to Murphy (and, to a lesser degree, his son, who grows up to be played by Casey Affleck), you'll forgive some of the confusing and convenient plot loops and concentrate on the possibility that at some point, this father will embrace his children again.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.