Arrival (2016)

Arrival (2016)

Director: Denis Villenueve

Writers: Eric Heisserer, based on the story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang

Stars:  Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whittaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O'Brien, Tzi Ma, Abigail Pniowsky

When alien ships arrive to hover above twelve different sites around the world, the US military dispatches a linguist (Amy Adams) and a physicist (Jeremy Renner) to attempt first contact and discern their purpose.  

Where most science fiction films with aliens have everyone speaking English for the sake of narrative convenience (I’m looking at you, Star Trek), this intelligent film uses the difficulty of communication as an opportunity to tell a story we don’t often see.  

What would it be like to confront a truly alien race, whose motives and language seem incomprehensible?  

Based on a short story by award-winning science fiction author Ted Chiang, “Arrival” poses big questions and doesn’t cop out at the end.  

When the true nature of the alien language is revealed, it transforms our heroine’s understanding of the universe along with the viewer’s understanding of the film.  

The end is challenging but revelatory.


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