Interstellar was not Christopher Nolan’s highest grossing or best-reviewed film, but it is up there. It had a worldwide box office total of over $670 million and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 72%. If anyone other than Nolan had directed it, that would be considered impressive.
A lot of critics’ problems with the movie involved its scope, with some of them feeling that Nolan had finally found a concept that was so big that it was out of his grasp: the future of humanity. But as a sci-fi epic with existential themes, it still stands up. Here are 10 Interstellar Quotes That Will Make You Think.
10 You Might Have To Decide Between Seeing Your Children Again And The Future Of The Human Race.
Drama is all about stakes, and these stakes laid out by Amelia Brand in Interstellar are about as high as they get. This is maybe the most difficult decision a person could be expected to make: abandon your family or abandon your species?
The gravity of the movie’s premise and its characters’ mission sets in with this quote. In the end, he chooses the future of the human race, because the human race includes his kids and Cooper prefers they survive to live a full life than he gets to spend a bit of extra time with them.
9 We Must Reach Far Beyond Our Own Lifespans.
Whenever Cooper and Dr. Brand converse in the film, we see a meeting of two great minds with conflicting ideas. Dr. Brand tells Cooper early in the film. “We must confront the reality that nothing in our solar system can help us...We’re not meant to save the world. We’re meant to leave it, and this is the mission you were trained for.” Cooper says, “I’ve got kids, Professor,” and Dr. Brand tells him:
Then get out there and save them. We must reach far beyond our own lifespans. We must think not as individuals but as a species. We must confront the reality of interstellar travel.
With climate change, this movie has retroactively become a timely cautionary tale.
8 Murphy’s Law Doesn’t Mean That Something Bad Will Happen. It Means That Whatever Can Happen Will Happen.
A lot of viewers found it unusual that Cooper’s daughter was called Murphy, as Murphy is typically a surname. However, in the context of the movie, Cooper and Murph’s late mother had a good reason to call her that. They named her after Murphy’s law, the philosophical idea that if something can happen, it will happen. At one point, Murph asks her dad, “Dad, why did you and Mom name me after something that’s bad?” Cooper explains that Murphy’s law isn’t a bad thing:
Murphy’s law doesn’t mean that something bad will happen. It means that whatever can happen will happen.
So, really, Murph is named after something completely neutral.
7 I Have A Cue Light I Can Use To Show You When I’m Joking, If You Like.
TARS isn’t included on as many lists of the best movie robots as he deserves to be. He’s up there with C-3PO and HAL 9000 with the perfect blend of robotic realism and unique personality. TARS is believable as an A.I. as opposed to a sentient human, yet he does have some funny lines.
A cue light to indicate that a joke is being told is probably something that’ll exist in a few years. We already know that A.I.s can be programmed to write jokes and stories based on the established formulas, so this isn’t far off being a reality. In the age of social media, a signal to indicate sarcasm sounds like a great idea.
6 Once You’re A Parent, You’re The Ghost Of Your Children’s Future.
Christopher Nolan has said that his intention with Interstellar was to make a science fiction epic from the point of view of a family, akin to Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Funnily enough, Interstellar was originally conceived and developed by Steven Spielberg before the project was sold off and Nolan became attached and made it his own.
While the director's cold, calculated, and Kubrickian visual style means Interstellar is very distinctly a Nolan film, the Spielbergian family angle is still there. Those themes are summed up perfectly in this entry's quote.
5 Mankind Was Born On Earth. It Was Never Meant To Die Here.
This line made a good one-liner to put into the trailer and explain the premise and stakes of the story with a few short words in a quick 30-second TV spot. The movie has a huge, epic scale and tells the story of the astronauts who set off through a wormhole to find a planet that the human race to migrate to after they foolishly destroyed their home on Earth. It would be tough to sell this in a trailer or a clip featured on a talk show if it didn’t articulate it so well in one line of dialogue.
4 We Used To Look Up At The Sky And Wonder At Our Place In The Stars. Now, We Just Look Down And Worry About Our Place In The Dirt.
The human race moves from one extreme to the other pretty quickly. It was just a couple of decades ago that we figured out space travel and people around the world were watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin go to the Moon on TV.
Now, with climate change destroying the world, scientists are panicking about the future of humanity. Cooper sums this up flawlessly when he mentions that humanity no longer has the luxury to dream of other planets, especially when Earth is gradually being ruined.
3 You’re Telling Me It Takes Two Numbers To Measure Your Own *ss But Only One To Measure My Son’s Future?
In an early scene set on Earth, we see Cooper meeting with the principal of his kids’ school, telling the principal, “You’re ruling out college for my son now? He’s fifteen.” The principal tries to defend this decision: “Tom’s score simply isn’t high enough.” But then Cooper asks, “What’s your waistline? What 32, 33 inseam?” Confused, the principal says, “I’m not sure I see what you’re getting at,” and then Cooper really hammers his point home:
You’re telling me it takes two numbers to measure your own *ss but only one to measure my son’s future?
To be fair, it’s a strong point.
2 We’ve Always Defined Ourselves By The Ability To Overcome The Impossible.
For all of its lofty sci-fi concepts and depictions of distant planets, Interstellar is really just a movie about humanity. Cooper explains the miracle of humanity in this great monologue focusing the ways civilization has always strived to reach for impossible and dream the unfathomable.
Along with mostly being backed by sound science, Interstellar taps into the core of what it means to be human. While all the brilliant visual effects are a sight to behold, the film's quieter scenes tend to leave an even greater impact. In the coldness of space, a touch of humanity goes a long way.
1 Love Is The One Thing That Transcends Time And Space.
This line would come off as corny if it didn’t compliment the themes of the movie so well, or if it wasn’t delivered as beautifully as it is by Anne Hathaway in the role of Amelia Brand. She also adds, “Maybe we should trust that, even if we can’t understand it.”
This whole conversation between Cooper and Brand is interesting, actually, because it’s two scientific minds going toe to toe with the non-scientific concept of love and trying to understand it. While Brand approaches love from the perspective of an intangible force that must have meaning, Cooper views the emotion through its ability to impact society.