In Interstellar, at one point, it is revealed that;

The dust clouds are killing the family of Joe Cooper's son, Tom.

And yet he is very aggresive when it is suggested that they move house, even though;

His first child already died from the dust.

Why is this, and;

Why doesn't Tom seem affected by the dust in the same way?

  • 4
    Not making this an answer, because it is pure speculation, but I suspect he viewed their deaths as inevitable, and he stubbornly clung to his farm in spite of it not being the best place for his family. There might also be some organizational mistrust of NASA, since they (in a sense) took his father away and nothing seemed to have come of it. Nov 13 '14 at 14:00
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    He is very stubborn and seems to have a dislike for NASA altogether. Probably because his dad never came back after going to NASA. One of those I rather die than doing xxx mentality
    – Huangism
    Nov 13 '14 at 15:24
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    One of the themes of the film was how to value the time one has left (e.g. does one "rage! rage against the dying of the light?" or does one "go gently into that good night?"). Tom, valued the farm and the life he led there, and did not want to choose what he perceived as the futility of holing away in some braniac asylum away from the things he loved. Whether that is right or wrong, naturally, is a values question.
    – Lexible
    Nov 24 '14 at 1:40

The family farm was entrusted to him, and his relatives were buried out back.

He was being stubborn, and frankly had little reason (from his perspective) to believe that moving would do any good: why would he trust NASA to heal his son, when NASA had stolen his father?

And why would he even care that much? Earth was dying and so was everybody on it; frankly, he may even (on some level) have felt jealous of his kid, who theoretically wouldn't live long enough to have to suffer through the extinction of the human race. Just what would be the point in having him cured, really?

Not to mention Tom appeared to be rather unhinged, so it's not as if he was making rational decisions.

  • 7
    +1. The imminent extinction of humanity is enough to make anyone unhinged. Tom and his family can die in their home, where their relatives are buried... or they can die six months later in a concrete bunker at NASA (unless something extraordinary happens to save them). Deciding to stay put is an understandable act of despair. Nov 14 '14 at 12:25
  • @RoyalCanadianBandit: You put it better than I. Nov 14 '14 at 12:27

The movie is all about forces acting across the vastness of the universe, Coop is able to communicate to his daughter because of the connection that they have with each other, but just as important is Tom's connection to the home. If he had left the farm and allowed it to deteriorate,

there was no guarantee that Murph's room would have been able to serve as the conduit for Coop's message.

He explicitly says, "we left your room just like it was." His purpose in the in-movie universe is to be the custodian of that space until

the time when Murph can be in the right place for Coop to transmit the data from inside the black hole.

This is again just my interpretation, but I found a parallel between him and Dr. Mann. They are both representing mankind's darker side of putting themselves before others. Coop and Dr. Brand discuss that the only evil they will find "out there" is what they (humanity) brings with them. The juxtaposition between Mann's actions on his world and Tom's actions on his farm serve to show this.

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