The movie is more a story explaining human nature by the space, the unknown and vast environment than a space adventure film. I can understand that the film's evaluation in the market is polarized, so I won’t criticize some illogical details of space activities in the plot. I only discuss the thread of human nature conveyed by the film.
男主角Roy (布萊德彼特飾)的父親Clifford(湯米˙李˙瓊斯)是太空探險事業的英雄，當年到了海王星遇難未歸，Roy長大後也成了一位優秀的太空人。某天，Roy奉命執行一項秘密任務，要到火星的太空站以溫情喊話，讓其實還秘密存活在海王星的父親現身 (長官們判斷父親還存活，且主動切斷與地球總部的聯絡)。因為父親當年奉命到海王星，探索太陽系是否存在著其他生命時，殺害了其他奉命在期限內本來就該返回地球的同行太空人，父親的抗命，不願返回地球，是為了他個人想留在那裏，直到尋找到外星生命，以完成他的夢想，太空總署判斷近期整個太陽系乃至地球常遇到的突波射線，是他的父親在海王星發射的，所以必須找到他的父親，以解決突波的致命傷害。
Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones) who was the father of the man lead, Roy (Brad Pitt), was a hero in space exploration who went to Neptune, met disaster and did not return years ago. When Roy grew up, he also became an excellent astronaut. One day, Roy was instructed to execute a secret mission: going to the space station of Mars to speak with affection in order to make his father who actually survived and was living secretly in Neptune show up (senior officers thought that Joy’s father was still alive and actively cut off the connection with the Earth headquarters). Years ago, his father followed the order of going to Neptune to explore if there were other lives in the solar system; however, he killed other fellow astronauts who had been instructed to return to Earth within the deadline. His father’s disobedience and unwillingness to return to the earth was because he wanted to stay there personally until he found out alien lives to complete his dream. NASA considered that the surge which the entire solar system and even the Earth frequently encountered currently were shot by his father in Neptune. Thus, Roy had to find his father to solve the fatal damage of the surge.
The time of the story was set in the future, so the human beings have already "governed" the moon in the plot. Therefore, the human lifestyle and even the rules of the game have been expanded to the moon, including robbers as pirates are also on the moon. At this time, human’s territory has been expanded to Mars. Nevertheless, when the long-stay human beings in the space station of Mars miss their hometown in Earth, they can only look at the pictures of the earth's nature, birds, flowers and plants, etc., in the meditation room. Such situation pointed out the absurdity and helplessness behind the human feats.
It was also showed in the film that constantly assessing self-emotion situation is a necessary process before the astronauts execute their tasks. This represents that, when facing huge dangerous challenges, the control of human’s emotion is very important. For example, there was a scene, the deputy captain couldn’t control the spacecraft with stable landing to connect the base of the space station in Mars out of fear (afraid that he can't make it) which almost resulted in the spacecraft’s crash. It was Roy who had stable personality and made prompt decision beyond his power to take over so that he could land the spacecraft successfully. He then learned that most of such landing missions failed in the past.
In this story, discipline, obedience, self-emotional management and no personal consideration were essentials for an excellent astronaut. However, Roy finally chose to disobey the command and not to follow the given draft when he spoke to his father in Neptune at the space station of Mars. He said the truth of his heart as a son who missed his father and therefore was deemed unqualified by senior officers, then he escaped and drove the spacecraft to Neptune. Although he was not willing to hurt any colleagues, those companions who obeyed the supervisor’s order of killing Roy killed themselves. It represented that a person who can’t tame his mind, whose mentality is not stable enough, can’t complete the task even though complying with discipline and obeying orders. Seeing this part, as a subconscious consultant, I sighed with mixed emotions. The education of us Asians seems to emphasize on the instillation of knowledge and the obedience of authority (parent, teachers, senior officers) on virtues. Although the aforesaid is not wrong, the problem is rarely encouraging or teaching people to face their own minds. When encountering emotions, especially sadness, anger and frustration, we tend to treat those as monsters or flood and immediately set a gate to keep those emotions away, e.g. ignoring it, not thinking about it, not touching it, or doing something else to distract etc. And we think that the problems will be solved by doing so. However, in the movie, we saw those well-trained astronauts who couldn’t even protect themselves when they couldn’t tame their emotions.
回到劇情線，Roy到了海王星太空站，當他找到數十年未見面的父親時，父親告訴他，其實他不想回地球，他關心的只有他自己的夢想，或許說他藉著這個夢想，逃避了一切在地球世界上與人的課題，夫妻的，親子的，同事的，朋友的所有人際關係。當Roy聽到父親說 「其實我從來不關心你在想什麼」 這句殘忍的話之後，作為觀眾的我們屏息了(太傷了吧，孩子思念你尊敬你數十年，結果其實你是自願遺棄我們…)，但Roy其實是懂得的，因為他何嘗不也是如此？原來Roy之前所有的情緒穩定，其實是來自對身旁的人(包括妻子)漠視忽略，故事中，Roy的妻子在太空站傳來的視訊留言是：你即使人在我身邊，但是你好像都還是在想別的事情，你是那麼遙遠，我不想等你了，我有我的人生要過。然而Roy的內心已經轉化或領悟了，他選擇了原諒父親，並且鼓勵父親一起回到地球(人群)裡，無奈最後，父親自己解開環扣，以形同自殺的方式任自己飄盪在黑暗無垠的太空裡(自我放逐於無生命的世界)，這一幕透過這位父親太空人，述說著這個荒謬：終其一生尋找遠在宇宙，陌生的外星生命，卻沒有勇氣面對近在咫尺，愛他的人以及自己內心的陰暗面。
Back to the plot, Roy went to the space station in Neptune. When he found his father whom he had not met for decades, his father told him that he didn’t want to go back to Earth. He only cared about his own dream. Or it may be said that he relied on this dream to escape from all his own lessons related to people in the world in Earth, all the interpersonal relationships, including husband and wife, parent and child, colleagues, friends. When Roy heard the cruel words his father said: “Actually, I have never cared about what you think about”, we audience held our breath (it was too hurtful, the son missed and respected the father for decades, but the truth was the father voluntarily abandoned him...). However, Roy could understand it because he did it in the same way. The reason Roy was emotionally stable was because of his indifference and ignorance toward people around him (including his wife). As in the middle of the story, the video message sent by Roy’s wife from the space station was: “Even though you were physically by my side, it seemed that you were still thinking about other things, you were so far away, I don’t want to wait for you anymore, I have to move on my own life.” Nevertheless, Roy’s mind had been transformed or enlightened. He chose to forgive his father and encouraged his father to return to the earth (people). But in the end, his father, with the way of committing suicide, untied the buckle himself and wandered in the dark and boundless space (self-exile in the inanimate world). This scene, through this father astronaut, told the ridiculousness: spending the entire lifetime to find strange aliens in the far universe, but having no courage to face the people who loved him and the dark side of his mind.
After watching this movie, it reminds me: at the nights on weekdays, when I was on the street, I often looked up the windows of one after another office buildings showing that there were still lights inside, I always thought that many people were still working hard and overtime. Of course, some people were forced to work overtime, but there were indeed some people acting like the astronaut father in the story, escaped the deficiency or unhappiness in life or daily life with work, the socially recognized behavior. For example, when going home, maybe he/she had to face the chattering parents, complaining wife, various trifles related to life necessities, or an empty and lonely house. I often told students that, in this world, being addicted to smoking, alcohol, gambling, sex, drug, video games and shopping will be regarded as a kind of illness that needs to be healed or solved. But there is one addiction acquiesced by the world---workaholic (being addicted to work). The reason is just because the addiction of workaholic can generate value of production toward the job and economy. So the society does not only acquiesce, but also encourages or praises such behavior. For instance, I often see a workaholic boss who also often asks his employees to work from 9:00 in the morning to 10:00 at the night. Perhaps workaholics have value of production to the economy of the social world, but when they return to their family or life with such mental problems and cause psychological or emotional damage to themselves and even their family, such damages can’t be compensated by the economic numbers they earned. Such kind of circumstances, I saw in my consulting studio every day. For example, one whose parents always worked overtime would grow up in the situation of lack of love, the loneliness would bring about certain lack of confidence or insecurity which deeply affects the future life path or interpersonal emotions, such as not being able to trust people, not knowing how to establish intimate relationship, or vice versa, unconsciously becoming another workaholic (seeking for the proof of external value through continuous performance, deeming that they can get attention and love of others by doing so.) Not to mention that the workaholics’ lack of energy and time to communicate, ignoring to manage of the marriage partner’s feelings because of always working for a long time, then it may cause affair after loneliness and leads to divorce or a broken family. (Of course, I don’t mean that work overtime isn’t allowed, but emphasize that one should be honest and do self-reflection to see whether being addicted to work has become a rationalized way of escaping the life problems? After all, work is only a part of life, work should not be the whole of the comprehensive and balance life in the long term).
At the end of the story, Roy succeeded in destroying the spacecraft which caused the surge (his father had never created it with bad intentions but kept trying to solve it), saving the solar system and the earth. The more important was that he finally stopped escaping, just like returning to the earth, he was willing to open his heart to his wife who always loved him. What this interstellar rescue really saved seemed to be the earth and solar system, but actually was his own mind which was like the darkness and loneliness of the vast universe. Going out of the cinema, what I thought about was, when can our society begin to face the fact that workaholics is the psychological state which we also need to face and solve, and then people are willing to no longer use the work as a high-profile excuse to escape life or interpersonal relationship and the dark side within one’s mind? When writing here, what I can do is only to look at the vast night sky and send my deep blessings to the world.