Emotional Contact (Movie Thoughts: Arrival)

arrival-poster-montana-usa-385x600If you could see your life from beginning to end, would you still live it? That is the ultimate question raised by the movie ‘Arrival,’ and after seeing this movie, you will certainly think, you will certainly ponder, and I bet you will hold close to you people you love.

Denis Villeneuve has crafted a film based on Ted Chiang’s short story ‘Story Of Your Life’ wherein twelve alien forms arrive on earth in twelve random places, and we are baffled: are they here as scientists, or are they here as visitors? Are they o harm us, or to study us, or to impart information to help us? In order to communicate, linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) with scientist Ian (Jeremy Rooner) are sent to communicate with them, learning their language as we teach them ours. Is Language the cornerstone of civilization, as Banks suggests?

Sci Fi is not my most favored genre but I found myself fascinated by this movie, becaue maybe this film could be categorized as an emotional sci fi film. It doesn’t ask questions from the brain, it asks them from the heart. It touches upon humanity’s first instinct to fight, instead of to understand, to protect what you have instead of embracing what you don’t know.

Amy Adams gives a terrific performance, one full of vulnerability and strength. I have always said, half-jokingly, that she has always had one of those faces that are continually confused, and that served her character here immensely as she seeks to understand this other life form visiting us. Of course, I am over generalizing her facial tics, when we get to that twist in the end and finally her character ‘understands’ the message being imparted, her face registers understanding and wisdom, there’s no more confusion in there. I hope she gets a nomination for her performance.

But back to the original question I posit – can we still live, enjoy, and cherish our lives if we knew what would happen from beginning to end? I wish I knew the answer to that. I am the type of person who often want to control things in my life. if I knew what was to come, will I still act the way I act? The fact the film makes me think about this, and other things is a testament to its brilliance.

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