Arrival Review

Arrival is a movie about aliens landing on Earth. But here’s the thing: it’s not really about aliens landing on Earth. Sure, Aliens do in fact land on Earch, but that’s not the point.

Did you enjoy Independence Day: Resurgence? Are you an impatient person? Are you incapable of empathy? If you answered yes to any of these questions you have something issues that need addressing in your personal life.

I recommend you try living outside of your mind for just a few hours. Observe people of different cultures and backgrounds. Try to imagine living life as an entirely different person. Also, you may not enjoy Arrival.

But maybe if you take some time to reflect on your life and choices you’ve made, I think you just may come around to thinking it’s just alright. I promise. The journey will be worth it.


Without going too far and ruining the plot of Arrival, I’ll just say that the story revolves around a woman named Louise who is an expert on linguistics. Louise is tasked with translating an alien language when extraterrestrials land in Montana, along with eleven other locations on Earth.

And that’s it. She translates the aliens and the movie ends. Thanks for stopping by.

Naw. Honestly, I haven’t told you anything important about Arrival. Sure, now you know the setup. But you don’t REALLY know anything and I recommend you keep it that way. My favorite part of Arrival was not knowing anything.

See, I came into the theater completely fresh. I am a big fan of director Denis Villeneuve’s previous films and when I read he was making a science fiction movie I said, “Yup. I’m in. Opening night, I’ll be there. Don’t tell me anything else.” I somehow managed to stay completely clean. It was a miracle.


I did not expect to see what I saw in the theater. Villeneuve’s previous films, Sicario and Prisoners, are raw, visceral movies. Those movies are filled with tension and dark, violent emotions. Arrival on the other hand is filled with calm, tranquil moments interjected with pangs of hope, sandwiched between sadness.

And for a movie about Aliens landing on Earth, Arrival movies pretty darn slow. That may not work for some people, especially those in the pro-Independence Day: Resurgence category. But remember, some of those people may lack the empathy engage properly with Arrival. Or maybe they don’t spending lots of money going to the movie theater if the film is a slow and methodical think piece when they thought it would be a tense, action-filled epic.

I get it. I can empathize with anyone who feels that way. But I would implore them to stay with Arrival. Practice patience. Your sacrifice will pay off. In terms of cinema, Arrival is a near perfect film.


But what I say next brings me no pleasure and I hesitate to speak ill of Arrival. It is not a perfect movie. GASP!

There are a few moments where my critical eye was distracted and my mind left the movie. There aren’t many of these moments and many people may be able to bypass them completely. I was not so fortunate. My mind was captured by the dreaded wonky CGI.

The good news is that these issues are purely technical and infrequent. In terms of story, script and performances, Arrival knocks it out of the park– no, out of the stratosphere.

I initially thought there might be a few plot holes but upon further discussion and reflection, no. There are no real plot holes. Are there questions and mysteries after Arrival ends? Absolutely. But there is a reasonable explanation or theory behind everything that happens.

And this is the best part of Arrival, the part after the movie ends. The part when you’re getting into your car and discussing with your spouse/friend/self about what you just saw. How does this affect me? How would I react in that scenario? What kind of world would we be living in if we could all the effects of our actions?

Most importantly: How are my eyes? Are they red? Do I look like I’ve been crying?


Add comment