Exploring Murphy's law through "Interstellar"

The film "Interstellar" raises the idea of murphy’s law. But should we consider this as merely an idea that shows up in the film – like lots of ideas we may raise in films – or is there more? Can the daughter’s name be considered as a sign that that law has a deeper role in the film? Many questions can be addressed about the law and how it is related to the film and more.
1. What is the initial form of Murphy’s law? How has it changed historically? How does the movie "Interstellar" show this change?
2. Discuss the meaning of the law. Does the movie use and apply this law somehow? Then how?
3. Moreover, can it be related to more than the film’s content, more precisely, the style of science fiction that Nolan makes? How such a law is used behind the scenes by Nolan to present his other stories (the Dark Night, Inception, etc.)? How did Nolan draw a line between what "we can imagine" and what "is possible by itself" or "scientifically possible"?
4. Considering what preceded, to which level the science fiction in Nolan’s work can be considered "fiction"?

  • I think there could definitely be something worth unpacking here, especially as we get a little further down your numerical list. I'll admit that I'm getting slightly hung up on point #1, since it seems pretty indisputable that Murphy's Law is invoked directly by the film, as opposed to being a subtle way of reading into the significance of a certain character's proper name. In an early scene, Murph asks Cooper, "Why did you and mom name me after something that's bad?" to which he replies, "Murphy's Law doesn't mean that something bad will happen. It means that whatever can happen, will happen. And that sounded just fine to us." It's not exactly subtext … it's just text. There's definitely something to be said about how Coop's response reframes the law from its more popular "anything that can go wrong will go wrong" connotation. While this revision speaks directly to the thematic optimism of the film at large, it might also be worth asking if the film is really about Murphy's Law if the law needs to be twisted to accommodate the thesis that Nolan ultimately wanted to propagate. Even if Coop's remark is a valid interpretation of the law (and I'm certainly not well-read enough in the history of Murphy's Law to know one way or another), it feels just as valid to say that Interstellar is a film about "probability," rather than about "the high probability of undesirable outcomes" that most people (including young Murph) would associate with that particular phrase. Aside from all of that, I'm not really sure how we make the leap from point #3 to #4, or even what #4 is even trying to say. It seems to me that we're losing the thread of the film's themes, and replacing that discussion with a misunderstanding of how genres work and/or the narratological meaning of the word "fiction." (I'm not going to reject the topic on those grounds, nor demand edits; I just really wish that everyone on earth would read Dorrit Cohn's The Distinction of Fiction, so I can stop being pedantic about this kind of thing and move on with my life.) – ProtoCanon 2 years ago
  • To be more precise about what I mean concerning the fourth point. Sometimes, the imagination plays the role of inventing possibilities concerning: What things exist? What they are? And what relations between them exist? etc... Sometimes, we may rely on science, for instance, which would provide us with such possibilities. Now, when does the role of imagination come in this second case? After choosing one scientific possibility concerned with the aforementioned questions, we can imagine "how this possibility may be expressed actually". In other words, imagination will play the role of actualizing such scientific possibilities, not in the world, but in the piece of art (Novel, Film, Game...), and that is different from inventing them in the first place. And as there is a difference between these two processes, we may talk then about different types or levels of "fiction". Or in another way of expression, we may talk about levels of "rationalizing the fiction". – Samer Darwich 2 years ago

Want to write about Film or other art forms?

Create writer account