It’s Monday! I’m coming to you today with a new Movie Monday blog, on TIME for once, and I’m super excited to review this movie because it is so amazing! So, I’ve noticed that this movie is not an adaptation. And my blog name is Royal Reader. Where did I go wrong?! Why have I strayed so far from my original path? Sometimes life just takes you places, you know? Oh well.
Anyway, back to the movie. I left the cinema a few weeks ago with my mind blown. There are so many deep thoughts and concepts explored and it is amazing to discuss with people. And I’m going to go into some of that today. I may have mild spoilers, but I’ll let you know, promise.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 8.4/10
First of all, let’s discuss the plot. The basic premise: Louise Banks is a Linguistics professor who, along with the rest of the world, notices the day They arrive. It is a normal day, and the process of discovery and the spreading of the news catches like a wave, until the whole world is aware of the arrival of twelve alien spacecrafts, at twelve different locations in the world. And Louise partners with the US Government to attempt to achieve communication with the extraterrestrial life. Over a number of weeks, Louise works to create a way in which they can communicate, using her knowledge of the basics of language and universal codes. As tensions increase across the world, and global fear spreads, Louise has a limited amount of time to discover why they are here.
That is the plot in a nutshell. Through a series of mind-blowing cinematography, mind-bending physics and a very realistic portrayal of what would happen if alien life did actually arrive, this movie stands out because it doesn’t try to pretend to be something it’s not. Perhaps this is why some people weren’t too set on it. I think when we hear about a movie about aliens, we expect fast-paced action like in Independence Day. But this movie handles the idea so subtly and realistically, and I loved it. Not everyone will like this, and I wasn’t sure if I would either, but I did. And the more I thought about it, the more I enjoyed it. The way the movie messes with time, and the slow-building connection between the aliens and Louise as she develops understanding of their language, is simply wonderful. I left the cinema so confused, and it was only after a half-hour discussion did I finally understand what the movie was trying to tell me. And wow, did that hit me hard. Perhaps it’s my experience in college and interpretation of literature that made me love going into the details and subtexts of this film. But you don’t have to be an English scholar to find the deep messages in the movie. My younger brothers loved this film too, and engaged in a philosophical discussion with me about the message of the film. It’s that good.
The acting is also superb. Amy Adams never fails to deliver, and the entire cast portray believable characters extremely well.
So, if you like deeply moving films that use aliens as a subplot to discuss much larger problems about humanity, the issues of communication and our fear of the unknown, then you will like this movie. If you want or expected a movie with faster pacing, more alien action and massive space battles, you will be disappointed. I admit that I understand why there were multiple one or two star ratings interspersed throughout the ten star ratings. The pacing is quite slow, because this movie reflects the reality of an alien “invasion”. There won’t be space battles. There won’t be Will Smiths running around kicking ass. It’ll be scary and it’ll get political, especially when different countries get involved.
So, if it still sounds appealing to you, I’d urge you to watch it. In the cinema, if possible. It’s amazing, and just offers so many interpretations and opportunities for discussion.
My rating: 9/10 stars
That’s it for the spoiler-free review/boring bit! The next section will have some spoilers as I gush about certain parts of the movie I LOVED. Let’s discuss it!
First of all, if you’re still here, you’ve either a) watched the movie and loved it, b) watched the movie and didn’t like it, c) haven’t watched the movie and are curious (understandable) or d) haven’t watched the movie and don’t intend to, and don’t mind being spoiled (boo you!). Regardless of this, I just want everyone to watch this film.
Can we talk about how REALISTIC this movie is? There was no mad mass event when the aliens arrive. It’s announced on the news, and the college students have no idea what’s up, and neither does Louise. The slow recognition of a potential threat is really well done. It starts as a news story that grows and grows into full-blown fear and riots, as well as global and political unrest. I loved this so much. I can’t see an alien arrival happening any other way.
The start of the movie and the end of the movie parallel in such a way that it has to hit you in the FACE for you to realise. The movie completely messes with the concept of time, and I was so confused (as was intended) because the movie sets it up like Louise is having a flashback to her past, when actually she is seeing her future. Wow. Time, man. Time.
And I know people don’t like how slow the movie is, because they got bored. But I liked the way it built on Louise’s growing understanding about their language. And when she finally communicates, things start getting really interesting.
I love how the aliens are not there to be malevolent. I love how fear itself manifests in humans until they start fighting amongst themselves. I love how the aliens don’t even have to do much for mass hysteria to take hold. And the big reveal?
Their motives are so interesting. They don’t want world domination, they want humanity’s help. But the only way to do that is to get them to work together first. Louise was chosen for a specific purpose, and the way in which they bent time to show her the way really struck me. Loved it.
And finally, knowing the future and intending to go through it anyway was such an amazingly philosophical aspect to throw in. I literally discussed this with my family for AGES. Would you go ahead with something even if you know that, in the future, it won’t end well? That is the question that this movie leaves you with. And boy, have I not stopped thinking about this since.
That’s it for now! If you haven’t seen this film, I’d seriously recommend you do. I’ll have more posts out this week, hopefully. Exams, ya know? Gross.