Stunning. Director Denis Villeneuve has created a Malick-esque dream beauty, like frosting over a well-crafted sci-fi cake. Arrival pushes viewers to appreciate language, love, and time spent in wholly new and extraordinary ways.
I loved it. It married my nerd-loves as language acquisition and grammatical structure met science fiction. In it, an accomplished professor, a linguist, is charged by the military with the impossible task of communicating with an alien species that has dropped down to earth in a shell-like ship. In translating the alien language, she learns much about herself, of course.
It seems simple enough, but it embraces pain and loss as a central concept within its discovery and curiosity.In 5th grade, schools took whole classes for an overnight field trip to the Science Center downtown Seattle, and we visited the longhouses and dinosaur exhibits and slept in the planetarium. With the stars overhead and dinos to my left, I felt transported by curiosity, allowed to dream beyond space and time, moved by the importance of single moments in time and how single choices affect the universe. See Arrival like that. Sit in awe for a few hours and be inspired by all that collaboration and kindness can produce.
It isn’t really about aliens and first contact. It’s really about choosing love even when you know it will involve pain.