Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay), Ted Chiang (based on the story “Story of Your Life” written by)

Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker | See full cast & crew »

Release Date: November 11, 2016

Summary (from IMDB): A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.


Review: 5 out of 5 Dogwoods

I loved this movie. Arrival is worthy of all of the praise and Oscar buzz it is receiving.

Amy Adams plays Louise Banks, soulful linguist-heroine who faces off with eerie extraterrestrials. Adams is thoughtful, serious, and at ease with her own silence and fears. Louise Banks would get along fine with Sandra Bullock’s character in Gravity, which, like this movie, leans into feeling and thinking, and reminds you that there is more to science fiction than heavy artillery.


Arrival is science-fiction like we have never seen before. It is a parable in a more idealistic and hopeful key than most movies of this genre. Based on Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life, Arrival blends absorbing storytelling with reflections on the universe, being, time, and space. Part of what makes it so enjoyable is that Arrival not only raises questions about the nature of reality and what it is to be human, but the story is also told through different timelines with cutaways to Louise’s life; shard-like glimpses that help fill in the whole.

“Mr. Villeneuve nods to “2001: A Space Odyssey” here and there in the astronaut-like hazmat suits, the allusions to the abyss (the humans sometimes float, as if in space) and of course the looming monoliths, one of them named Stanley Kubrick. These references can seem decorative, almost ritualistic, with one director paying homage to a master.”

Manhola Dargis, NY Times, Review November 10, 2016


Amy Adams gives a heartfelt performance, one which should earn her an Oscar nomination. Adams has a quiet strength throughout the whole movie, offering a new and unique heroine for the science-fiction genre. In a nice reversal of how many puzzlers work, the movie becomes more fragmented the closer Louise gets to figuring out why the aliens have arrived and what they want from Earth, resulting in a wonderful twist at the very end.

I cannot express how much I loved this movie without spoiling any of the surprises. Do yourself a favor and go see it in theaters.

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