December 8, 2014

‘Interstellar’ and ‘Theory’…family, hope and black holes

By Dan Webster

“…the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home.”

Those words from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer pretty much set the stage for anyone who likes science fiction on screen and the latest Hollywood offering—“Interstellar” will not disappoint.

Some will be surprised that it’s more of a story about family than just another special effects extravaganza about space. And it’s about the future of a planet unable to feed its population and what human beings might do facing extinction. You could say it’s a pre-apocalyptic Noah’s ark-type tale.

There’s clearly some preaching by writers Jonathan and Christopher Nolan about science deniers but there’s also a recognition of human beings not being alone in the universe. An entity or someone (dare we suggest, God?) has given the human race a way out to another planet in another solar system.

Some have called it a “father-daughter” movie. It’s more than that. It tickles the imagination with the ability to bend time. And it just might bring to mind words from the Song of Solomon (8:6), “…for love is strong as death” or the poems, songs and prayers that go a step farther: love is stronger than death.

Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn and John Lithgow present a very human story in believable performances. This is a movie not to be missed especially on the big screen.

“The Theory of Everything” is also a must see. It’s a biopic about Stephen Hawking, his family, and his struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. It too deals with black holes since Hawking is an expert on the topic but it also takes up the gulf between science and religion.

Hawking’s wife, Jane, is a practicing Anglican when they meet at university. As their relationship deepens she asks Stephen why he’s not a church goer. “I have a slight problem with the celestial dictator premise,” he says.

But the overwhelming theme in this film is hope, perseverance and a love that faces unbelievable obstacles. No big screen special effects in this one but a story that captures the heart.

If you've not seen Eddie Redmayne before, you'll remember him after seeing him tackle this role.

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