The temporary acceptance as believable of events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible. This is usually to allow an audience to appreciate works of literature or drama that are exploring unusual ideas.
This term was coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817 with the publication of his Biographia literaria or biographical sketches of my literary life and opinions:
The state is arguably an essential element when experiencing any drama or work of fiction. We may know very well that we are watching an actor or looking at marks on paper, but we wilfully accept them as real in order to fully experience what the artist is attempting to convey."In this idea originated the plan of the 'Lyrical Ballads'; in which it was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith."
I have no intention of deconstructing the movie to, if it were possible, discover why my poetic faith was so intense. That fact that the science involved was so far beyond my ability to comprehend I could not possibly scoff at any theories put forth could be responsible in part. Mostly, it was the humanity of the characters that held my attention and belief. They expressed a version of humanity sometimes missing in science fiction, which is no deterrent to my enjoyment of the genre. It made identifying with them in their extreme circumstances so much easier.
Staying away from chat rooms in which rancor seems to be the over-riding tone is near the top of my list for how to remain relatively sane. My son, younger and more resilient, will visit them, read so much utter drivel that he begins to rant and thus has information about what bizarre opinions are expressed on any and every topic. I have very old-fashioned views about what ought to be allowed into the collective dialogue and what should not. I feel strongly that we get to enjoy, even to love, what pleases us, without explanation or challenge. That my feelings are not universally shared is fine, it's expected. All I ask is to be left in peace with my choices. Whether from cranks or experts, I prefer not to hear about all that is wrong with a story that has touched me. We choose to suspend disbelief in our own ways. Without spoiling the plot of INTERSTELLAR, I will just say that to the best of my knowledge no human has experienced a black hole. We can only theorize, as in guess, how they behave.
Some reviewers called the movie cold. It felt anything but cold to me. For science fiction, it seemed quite warm-blooded. The real issue, though, is that a writer gets to tell his or her story. We either buy into it or we don't. I have a number of sci-fi movie favorites, including BLADE RUNNER, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, ALIENS, STAR WARS (or is that even considered science fiction?) and many others in print form. I grew up on Ray Bradbury.
What I enjoy is being transported, taken from ordinary reality and everyday concerns to a place where the circumstances are far removed yet not unfamiliar. There are multiple sites where you can read either reviews of INTERSTELLAR or a synopsis of its plot. If you decide to watch, you will likely know before too many minutes have passed whether or not you can accept the premise, the characters and their plight as real or not. Fiction, film or print, gives us vicarious lives to live for short spans, though the memories of those adventures can remain with us for decades. The measure of a great story is our ability to inhabit it fully, whether in this world or another.