Explore time and space with Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar

A review by Brenda Daniels

In a near-future scenario the earth is subject to failing crops and no rain. Massive dust storms cover everything in layers of dirt endangering people’s health and leaving an empty, hopeless pall over mankind’s survival. Enter Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), an incorrigible scientist. Cooper is also a farmer, former astronaut and widower with two children.

One of those children, Murph (Mackenzie Foy as young Murph and Jessica Chastain as adult Murph), encounters what appears to be supernatural phenomena in her bedroom. Someone or something from “beyond” is trying to communicate with her. This scene involving books that fall in a seemingly random manner, and dust that settles in unnervingly systematic lines, is a very important part of the plot, an element that is resolved for viewers only at the end of Interstellar.

In a bizarre mix of science and what appears to be the supernatural Cooper is “called” to embark on a space mission that will save mankind. Joined by Amelia (Anne Hathaway) and others, the astronauts leave earth in search of previously earmarked destinations in order to evaluate their viability as a replacement home for mankind.

They will either return for the humans on earth or start a new “colony” with specially prepared human embryos.

What makes the story fascinating, however, is not the future setting or its intergalactic nature, but its intriguing exploration of the space-time-gravity continuum. Explaining too much here would spoil the adventure for viewers.

Suffice to say that Interstellar is a multi-layered space adventure that also examines the human heart and its capacity (or not) for altruism. Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain give particularly good performances. Michael Caine and Matt Damon also star.

Interstellar opens at all cinemas in South Africa on Friday 7 November. It runs for a lengthy, but absorbing, two hours and 50 minutes.

Matthew McConaughey stars in the gripping new film, Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Matthew McConaughey stars in the gripping new film, Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Jessica Chastain stars alongside McConaughey in Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Jessica Chastain stars alongside McConaughey in Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Mr. Morgan’s Last Love is just too depressing

I have noticed in recent films a welcome focus on relationships other than the romantic; friendship and filial love have both been highlighted. Mr. Morgan’s Last Love focuses on the latter, although not with enough depth to make it a good movie.

In this story we see retired American philosophy professor Matthew Morgan (Michael Caine) developing a friendship with young, free-spirited dance teacher, Pauline Lauby (Clemence Poesy). Matthew is a lonely widower mourning the death of his wife, Joan. Joan loved France and it is because of her that Matthew continues to live in Paris after her death despite his not being able (or willing) to speak French and despite his adult children Kate (a brusque Gillian Anderson) and Miles (Justin Kirk) living in the USA.

Matthew meets Pauline by chance on the bus one day and this warm-hearted young woman readily welcomes him as a friend. An unusual relationship develops, with both welcoming the other into their very different lives. When a depressed Matthew tries to take his own life Pauline and his children rush to his bedside. Miles especially has a rather tortured relationship with his father while Pauline sees in Matthew the father figure she lost long ago. All three learn lessons about themselves and each other as they make meaningful connections along the way.

Despite these deepening attachments Matthew remains depressed throughout – shown starkly in a pile of unmoved, unread newspapers in his apartment.

I found this relentless gloominess tiresome, a feeling not even the lovely Clemence Poesy or the appealing foreign setting could lift. Michael Caine’s American accent was just horrible and I was rather glad when Mr. Morgan’s Last Love was over.

Mr. Morgan’s Last Love opens at Cinema Nouveau Theatres in South Africa on 12 September 2014.

 

Michael Caine and Pauline Clémence Poésy in Mr Morgan's Last Love. Photo: supplied by Ster Kinekor

Michael Caine and Clémence Poésy in Mr Morgan’s Last Love. Photo: supplied by Ster Kinekor