Storytelling has been an essential part of the human spirit for as long as history can see. From the very beginning, there are paintings on the walls of the caves of early man; stories, telling of brave hunts and harsh winters. From there, stories have evolved; retold across generation after generation, moving from paintings to spoken word to books, and finally, and recently, to film. There is just something about a good story that is essentially captivating to us as people, and we keep searching for more. In today’s scene of storytellers, the major studios of hollywood, it is a certainty that some old stories will be retold. Films like Interstellar need to draw in viewers again and again in order to make things work, and pathos is the reason why it works. No matter if it’s the same old story, emotional appeals send audiences on an emotional roller coaster that, if done right, leaves them feeling exhilarated and excited. If executed properly, Interstellar can create these feelings through pathos, and leave with millions of dollars in profits, straight from the pockets of willing moviegoers. But just how does Interstellar create that emotional magic?
From the beginning, the most important aspect of pathos in a story is it’s reliability to the audience. Viewers need to be able to feel the same emotions they feel to the characters on screen, and in order for those emotions to be possible, a connection must be made. For a film like Interstellar, a major summer blockbuster, the target audience is not specific. In order to achieve success, every viewer from every background must appreciate and feel like a part of the scene. This is accomplished by creating protagonists, Cooper and Murph, who are simple, honest, hard-working ...
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...context and emotion present in a situation. At the takeoff of Cooper’s journey, it is read as a manifestation of all of the pain felt. The audience sees and grasps the heartbroken Murph in it’s words. At the conclusion, however, those same words are filled with the positive emotions analyzed, bravery and hope. They symbolize Cooper’s dedication to surviving, and seeing his daughter once more. “[Interstellar] takes us into the farthest mysteries of space-time, where, it assures us, love joins gravity as a force that operates across interstellar distances. The Earth may die, but love will triumph.” (newyorker.com) The film recognizes that it was able to sway audience emotions from that deep, dreadful fear at the origin, and from the multitude of emotional appeals, change those same words into emotions of satisfaction and genuine, compassionate relief at it’s conclusion.
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