Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar (2014)

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I feel like being a part of Chris Nolan movie is any actor’s dream, just don’t expect to be too lucky with awards. I always thought Leonardo DiCarprio, Marion Cotillard and Guy Pearce should have been recognised for their performances too, but I guess the Academy just really isn’t into Nolan-style performances, unless you’re Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

Matthew McConaughey has proven himself to be a more than capable leading man over the past few years. I used to have a bad impression of him because I have pretty horrific memories of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, but I think it’s pretty clear nowadays that the guy has talent. I’m glad that he finally carved a niche for himself playing the “deep/eccentric/pretentious” guy, and that he varies his performances without becoming too repetitive.

I also happen to love Interstellar. People seem to complain about it being hard to understand, but I never thought the science was an integral part of the story. It’s a fairly simple concept about love being able to transcend time and space, and I thought it was creatively explored. That being said, like all Nolan films, I felt like he was trying to juggle too many things together at times. I couldn’t really buy the motivations and “love story” behind Anne Hathaway’s character, and the segment involving Dr Mann (Matt Damon) felt tonally inconsistent with the rest of the film. It’s not as heavy-handed as his Dark Knight series, where he tried to gel sentimentality, action, side-characters etc all into one product, but I felt like he was trying to cram his message down our throats sometime. Still, I’ll be damned if I said I wasn’t blown away by the mere scope and ambition of the film.

Matthew McConaughey has a way of making his characters enigmatic presences in his movies, and I always find myself intrigued by them. I was impressed by how he handled Cooper’s determination to go through with the mission, and how he never makes it cheesy with all that “saving mankind” stuff. He portrays Cooper as an intelligent man, who may be reckless and a bit annoying, but nonetheless an admirable figure whose quick-thinking has gotten the team out of more than one sticky situation. I found Cooper to be a likable character throughout the whole film, and I was always impressed by his tenacity and wit.

Still, the best part of the performance comes from the portrayal of Cooper’s relationship with his daughter. It’s always apparent that she’s the main force that’s driving him. In my opinion, the father-daughter bond between Cooper and Murph was more than sufficient to make up the emotional core of this movie. Jessica Chastain also has some very strong scenes despite her limited screentime, but it’s really McConaughey who supplies the emotional power of this movie. Just the scene where he’s watching the messages from his children can really break your heart (the guy’s a fantastic crier), and I really felt Cooper’s intense guilt for leaving his children behind. Thanks to McConaughey’s performance, we get to see many shades of vulnerability and strength behind this character.

All in all, Matthew McConaughey may not be my personal favourite actor, but I thought his performance in Interstellar was absolutely fantastic. He makes Cooper a fascinating figure that’s uniquely his own creation. 5/5.

The film: 4.5/5


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