Drama , Mystery , Sci-Fi Feb 05, 2017 No Comments

©2016 Paramount Pictures

Theater Movie Poster. ©Paramount Pictures.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | R | 1h 56m

Our Rating: $11.00

ARRIVAL is one of those movies that’s going to stick with you for a while. Not only because it’s such a great movie but because of the questions that it brings up throughout the course of the film.

From the previews, I expected an entirely different movie. To be honest, I was expecting something more along the lines of the usual Hollywood blockbuster: aliens come to Earth, a group of people come into contact with them, things go south, and there’s an all out battle. Maybe I didn’t pay close enough attention to the trailers? Forget the David vs Goliath battle to save mankind. ARRIVAL is a beautiful, slow burning story.

Amy Adams plays Louise, a linguistics professor who lost her daughter to a fatal disease. It is during one of her classes that she discovers alien ships have touched down in 12 parts of the world, inciting global panic. When Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) recruits Louise, she is brought to one of the landing sites where she is then tasked with the job of translating and interpreting the alien language in an effort to learn why they came and what they want. From there, Louise develops a way to communicate with these mysterious visitors and learns the truth behind their arrival.

The movie moves slowly, but not in a way that is noticeable. In retrospect, ARRIVAL has no mind-blowing action scenes, but there are plenty of moments that build suspense. Really, if you’re not on the edge of your seat throughout much of the movie, I’d be surprised. ARRIVAL proves that you don’t need flash to captivate an audience.

All the plot’s twists and turns lead to a grand, unexpected ending.

[read more=”SPOILERS (Duh!) Keep Reading” less=”Read less.”]

The language is the gift from the aliens to give humans the ability to see the future. This opens up the best and most emotional parts of the movie. All of Louise’s moments with her daughter are still to come. Louise sees that her marriage to scientist Ian (Jeremy Renner) fails, that her daughter succumbs to a fatal disease, and yet she decides to move forward with her life. The biggest question of this movie becomes “If you knew the outcome of your life, would you change it?” Louise doesn’t.


Adams makes this movie. I don’t care what the stupid Academy Award nominations say, she is one of the reasons this movie is so great. The emotion she gives to Louise is beautifully tragic.

And that score. Johann Johannsson his the nail on the head. ARRIVAL’s score builds at the perfect moments, adds emotion when needed, and overall enhances each scene. People don’t necessarily think about the scores or music in a movie when it’s not the main focus. Everyone might be talking about the La La Land score but ARRIVAL’s is far more interesting and really does more for the movie. (At some point, I’ll stop talking about how unimpressed I was with La La Land but it probably won’t be until after award seasons is over. Probably not even then, if I’m being honest.) I don’t follow the rules of the Academy that closely but it is SO DUMB that the ARRIVAL score can’t be nominated because of the use of another piece of music in a few places.

So far of the five movies I’ve seen nominated for the Oscars, this one is my favorite.** It might not be the one favored to win (ugh La La Land), but I’m going to cheer for it. Especially since Amy Adams was snubbed. Who knows? Crazier things have happened.

**This is Sue’s opinion. Meg’s favorite so far is Hacksaw Ridge. See, sometimes we disagree.