Interstellar challenges the traditionalist orientation of agrarian conservatives such as Wendell Berry. According to Berry, we should take our lead from the “stickers,” who devote themselves to the community that develops in a particular place and who are tied to the land of their small part of the planet. Opposed to the stickers are the “boomers,” who are never satisfied with what they have and exploit particular communities and parts of nature for money and power. For Berry, the most destructive boomers are the engineers, who transform human places rather than cultivate them.
Interstellar, rather like Berry, presents people as divided into two types: engineers and farmers. The family at the center of the film is made up of two engineers by nature—Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter—and two natural farmers, Cooper’s son and his father-in-law. That’s two brilliant, bookish, and restlessly inquisitive explorers and two stay-at-home family men with good hearts who readily accept their world’s and their own limited horizons. But the explorers aren’t Berry’s displaced parasites; they, too, are moved by personal, familial love.
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