I just watched Arrival yesterday after not having seen it for a while and wow, I really love this movie. In fact, it’s one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. I just can’t get enough of the brilliant screenplay and the outstanding performances of Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner in this visually masterful handling of a sci-fi film. Denis Villeneuve is a master of this genre.
Considering how much I enjoyed the film last night I wanted to revisit this review I wrote celebrating the beauty of this one-of-a-kind film. Enjoy!
I went to see Arrival roughly five years ago when it sprung into theaters around the country. I went to watch it because it was garnering immense praise from critics and it seemed like an interesting science fiction film to watch. After seeing it I, for the most part, enjoyed it but its plot was confusing and I didn’t fully understand what was going on. It ended up being nominated for Best Picture that year, showing that the praise it received was somewhat legitimate. I, however, hadn’t watched the movie since…until a couple of days ago.
I was bored and looking for a fun movie to watch in the middle of the day. I came across Arrival and considering that I had only seen the film once about a year and half ago I figured I might as well give it a go again and see if I’ll understand it a little better the second time around. As soon as it came on I knew that I was going to enjoy the movie immensely.
The cinematography was beautiful and immediately sucked me in with its dark tones. The music, composed by the recently deceased Jóhan Jóhannsson (Sicario,) is perfectly alien and it works brilliantly with the overall film. But what struck me the most about the movie wasn’t the colorful tones of the movie’s scenes or the way the music gave me chill bumps but rather the originality of the story.
Usually when the topic of aliens arriving on Earth is tackled in a film it’s a horrific situation. People usually run around panicked like its a scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers or it’s a world ending event like something out of Independence Day but the writers for Arrival took a completely different approach.
This isn’t an action film about a group of people who have to save humanity from the evil aliens but is rather a complex story that showcases a more realistic and peaceful approach at what first contact with extraterrestrials could really be like. Amy Adams who plays the role of Professor Louise Banks, is assigned by the government to help initiate this first contact with the aliens. She is set to translate the aliens’ language and respond for the humans in turn. During this expedition she meets Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and together they forge a close relationship that ends up being the true story this film is trying to tell.
The aliens, who are usually the main aspect of a science-fiction movie, were actually just involved as co-stars and instead were used as stepping stones to Louise and Ian’s story. Arrival is, in essence, actually a love story that slowly evolves through the arrival (no pun intended) of these aliens.
The film time and time again takes the viewer back and forth from the current situation to another time in Louise’s life when she has a child. The viewer isn’t told that the scenes with the child is set in the future and that this little girl is such a huge benefactor to the story of the movie. In fact, there is a lot you probably won’t understand after seeing the film once but after seeing it twice my eyes were opened and I could truly appreciate how beautiful the movie actually was.
By the time the end of the movie came along I had two waterfalls pouring down my face from all of the tears I was shedding. I am a sucker for love stories, I really am, even the corniest ones, and this movie seriously hit my heart strings.
Interstellar is still my favorite sci-fi film of all time but in terms of well-written science-fiction movies that base story and substance over action and horror this is definitely sitting at second place. Amy Adams plays Louise Banks so well I don’t see her as Lois Lane. And Jeremy Renner plays the role of Ian Donnelly so impeccably that I didn’t see him as Hawkeye throughout the entire movie. And together they worked so beautifully that I couldn’t help but inwardly applaud their performance.
I’m giving it a 95 out of a 100 and 4.5 out of 5 stars. Arrival was nominated for Best Picture for a reason and if you haven’t seen it I definitely recommend it as a movie you should totally watch if you get the chance.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a splendid day.