This movie has been popping up in my Amazon recommendations a lot lately. I’ve been putting it off because. . .partly because I’m tired of the image of the lone man on an ice planet as is on the cover. Yes, I was judging it by the cover. Partly because of those man saves the world by going to space tropes were getting old. Partly because the only think I’d read about the film was that it was another saving Matt Damon thing.
The film had me hooked early on. Yes, it’s an apocalyptic film, albeit a more quiet one. In the future violence and guns and war is eliminated and people are farmers and NASA is an underground covert government agency type thing. But the world is in its final gasps and people don’t realize they won’t survive much longer without the hero they need, the one who hasn’t been able to do much but farm for damn near a lifetime. They need Matthew McConaughey, AKA Coop.
But Coop is a family man with a daughter and a son. Which is where it gets a wee bit interesting. The son is tested and told he’ll make a great farmer. The girl is something more. There is a ghost in her library speaking to her in binary and giving her NASA secrets and messages.
But then the story is about the dad going into space, through wormholes, to find a habitable planet. And Matt Damon. Who is not a good guy so (spoiler alert) they leave him. No saving private Ryan here.
This is a film that i think makes attempts and has good instincts in those attempts. Looking at it from a view of the females in the film, as I tend to do lately, at first I thought of the strides it made. One of the astronauts is a female. She’s the daughter of Coop’s old professor, trained for the mission. Having just watched Ant Man where the daughter of the scientist, who is herself a scientist, is not allowed to act but has to watch this was refreshing – a woman with knowledge acts. However, she is still there to teach men about emotions, as in one scene that is echoed by the hero later, she comments on how emotions have to hold more meaning than survival or procreation or we wouldn’t love someone who is dead.
Then there is Coop’s daughter, Murphy Cooper. She is smart as well, willful, and the real hero if not of the story, of the world. But it’s not her story, it’s how the main character comes to realize this. Maybe we need the threat of the end of the world before people see girls, women, have value and can actually act. (She also has her crying scenes, though. It seems a sad trope still that we are the bearers of emotion and men of heroic deeds).
And these are the two women in the film. And they don’t talk to each other. And it doesn’t pass the Bechdel test (1. two women in the film 2. they talk 3. and not about a man). There is one other woman, a wife and sister-in law- to Murphy, and maybe technically the Bechdel test is passed when they say hello to each other, but I’m not sure.
The ending is telegraphed but is not unsatisfactory. The visuals are great, with nice action. I watched it throughout, not wandering off to see what was in the fridge or how my bathroom needs cleaning. The music added to the emotions and in some place the manipulation worked and I felt it. Plus, it’s always nice to see Casey Affleck.
All in all, some problematic parts, yes, but I enjoyed it.