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Analysis of Symbolism in The Film Interstellar

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“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. This quote is an accurate representation of the struggles and accomplishments us humans have experienced in our lifetimes. These feats against the cessation of survival were so significant that they were portrayed in Interstellar. Interstellar is an American science fiction film directed and produced by Christopher Nolan which premiered in 2014. To engage the audience, Interstellar contains multiple uses of symbolism and allusions which are significant to the plot, and thus, Interstellar has used these language features to generate complex ideas that are relevant and significant to our world today. Interstellar envisions a present where many key sources of survival are fading away due to a global crop blight and a repeat of the 1930s Dust bowl which is rendering the planet uninhabitable. To prevent this from occurring, a father and daughter with a special connection communicate using the ‘love’ between them to rescue their home planet, Earth. Hence, Interstellar explores the importance of love as the two main characters Coop and Murph attempt to save the planet. The ‘Lazarus mission’ has been used to convey a biblical allusion and generate the idea of how the story of Lazarus is closely connected to the ‘Lazarus Mission’ and the mission Coop takes a part of. Whereas, the two crucial symbols show a whole different side to reality and humanity. Coop’s watch formulates the idea of an indestructible bond between a father and daughter. Whereas, the sandstorms, portray the idea of the world is coming to end and a world where day to day activities are unable to be accomplished.

The film incorporates the symbol of Coop’s watch to provoke thought about how crucial love could be in helping preserve the fate of humanity. The watch is shown in many parts of Interstellar to represent how vital it is towards the plot line of the film. The watch enters the movie when Coop’s gift a watch to Murph in their sentimental goodbye scene. This special gift given to Murph is a symbol of their connection across time which is represented towards the concluding scenes of the film. Murph leaves the watch untouched in her bedroom for many years, and it represents her aspiration to remain distant from the thought of her father’s agonizing memory. Ultimately, she decides to return to her room to retrieve the watch, and she realises that her father is communicating to her from another dimension. Furthermore, Cooper’s use of the watch to establish this connection further speaks to portray the symbolism of their unbreakable connection. Therefore, the film explores the symbol of Coop’s watch to serve a vital role within a film as it is generates a complex idea of an indestructible bond between a father and daughter.

Many factors relating towards the world facing environmental collapse (such as: global warming and a global crop blight) are features used in Interstellar to represent one immense idea of symbolism. A major graphic representation is during the scenes in which the sandstorms are displayed. Theses sandstorms are caused by a global blight which attacks and destroys the crops, causing a major survival problem for the people on earth, and it gradually results in an unbreathable atmosphere for all life on Earth. The sandstorms are symbolic in many scenes of Interstellar. An example scene would be when Cop and his family are watching a baseball match and a sandstorm disrupts it and changes their schedule, altering their usual way of life. In addition, as Coop’s family is fleeing from the sandstorm, they have gear packed in the car (gas masks, eyewear etc.) which suggests that the sandstorms are a common occurrence within their area. Consequently, this proposes the complex idea that the world as they know it is coming to an end and usual activities which are basic routines can no longer be accomplished.

Through the use of a biblical allusion within Interstellar, the director has attached an underlying message relating to the lord and saviour Jesus Christ. While Christians have hope in Christ for miracles to occur, the film’s hope for humanity is not like this but instead for humanity (on the brink of extension) to save itself through the help of science. The Lazarus the mission sends 12 astronauts which are represented as Apostles. Cooper is represented as Jesus Christ as he is trying to save the earth from extinction. Cooper then ‘resurrects ‘ Dr. Mann which is represented as Lazarus. Dr. Mann then goes on to betray Cooper (Jesus). Cooper enters the black whole, sacrificing himself to save humanity from ‘Its sins’ (representing crop blight and the destruction of the Earth). Cooper (Jesus) is then resurrected from the dead and brought back to life in a hospital bed. Additionally, Cooper (Jesus) keeps saying ‘I will return’ to his beloved children, which could represent the nature of Jesus, being loving, selfless, sacrificing himself for the saviour of his family and also planet Earth. Thus, viewers of the film could generate complex ideas about how Interstellar takes on two separate realties and forms them into one into one singular idea.

In conclusion, Coop’s watch, the sandstorms and the Lazarus missions are a key role in Interstellar, and have been uncoincidentally used by Christopher Nolan in various ways to allow viewers of the film to gain insight towards the allusions and symbols, and hence generate complex ideas which are relative to the world in which they live in. Coop’s watch generated the idea of unbreakable connection between Murph and Coop. In addition, the sandstorm generates the idea that the world in which they are currently living in is coming to a closure, and day to day activities are no longer able to be accomplished. Whereas, the Lazarus missions represents a new perspective when contrasted against the two symbols and it generates the complex idea of how the story of Lazarus is closely connected within Interstellar. Christopher Nolan foreground these ideas and conveyed into message by the use of symbols and allusions and has really connected his film with real world problems.   

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Analysis Of Symbolism In The Film Interstellar. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from
“Analysis Of Symbolism In The Film Interstellar.” GradesFixer, 25 Oct. 2021,
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