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Arrival (2016)

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A linguist works with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world.

Director:

Denis Villeneuve

Writers:

Eric Heisserer (screenplay by), Ted Chiang (based on the story "Story of Your Life" written by)
Popularity
571 ( 196)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 65 wins & 254 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amy Adams ... Louise Banks
Jeremy Renner ... Ian Donnelly
Forest Whitaker ... Colonel Weber
Michael Stuhlbarg ... Agent Halpern
Mark O'Brien ... Captain Marks
Tzi Ma ... General Shang
Abigail Pniowsky ... 8-Year-Old-Hannah
Julia Scarlett Dan ... 12-Year-Old-Hannah
Jadyn Malone ... 6-Year-Old-Hannah
Frank Schorpion ... Dr. Kettler
Lucas Chartier-Dessert Lucas Chartier-Dessert ... Private Lasky
Christian Jadah ... Private Combs
Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld ... CNAC Anchor
Andrew Shaver ... Environmental Tech
Pat Kiely ... Environmental Tech
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Storyline

Linguistics professor Louise Banks leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touchdown in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Why are they here?


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada | India

Language:

English | Russian | Mandarin

Release Date:

11 November 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Story of Your Life See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$47,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,000,000, 11 November 2016

Gross USA:

$100,546,139

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$203,388,186
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Three of the locations that the alien spaceships land on Earth include the U.S. state of Montana, the United Kingdom, and Russia. These are some of the locations that the alien Tripods landed in John Christopher's 1988 novel "When the Tripods Came," which is the prequel to his "Tripods" novel trilogy. See more »

Goofs

Louise is told to translate some overheard Mandarin and is momentarily confused at hearing the Mandarin word for "suits" before realizing that it is a reference to Mahjong. In actual Mandarin, the word for "suit" that refers to clothing and the word for "suit" that refers to a classification of cards in a card game are not the same word. If the speakers had really been using the word "suit" in the card-game sense, Louise might have initially translated it as "flower-color" and been confused, but the only way she could have translated it initially as "suit" would be if she already knew of the card-game meaning. However, this is not a "Factual Mistake". There is no indication in the movie that Louise ever thought of "suit" in the clothing-sense. There are indeed suits (in the card-game sense) in Mahjong, but Mahjong is not a card game; it is played with tiles. In other words, Louise may have translated it as "suit" in the card-game meaning without realizing yet that the referenced game was Mahjong; and that (as well as the fact that neither card-games nor Mahjong are directly linked to the topic of the rest of the Mandarin conversation) may be where Louise's initial confusion arose from. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Louise Banks: [narrating] I used to think this was the beginning of your story. Memory is a strange thing. It doesn't work like I thought it did. We are so bound by time, by its order.
Louise Banks: [coddling her baby girl] Okay. Okay. Come back to me. Come back to me. Come back to me.
Louise Banks: [later playing with her in the yard] Stick 'em up! Are you the sheriff in this here town? These are my tickle guns, and I'm gonna getcha!
6-Year-Old-Hannah: No!
Louise Banks: You want me to chase you? You better run!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Right after the cast credits, "On the Nature of Daylight" by Max Richter is given an extra credit as the "Beginning and end music" in addition to the usual soundtrack credit near the end of the credit roll. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Half in the Bag: Annihilation (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

First Encounter
Written by Jóhann Jóhannsson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A film that not only tests the idea of aliens, but of humanity.
15 September 2016 | by laabstractSee all my reviews

Are we alone? This question has haunted mankind since they first gazed at the stars. "Arrival" answers this question with an abrupt no. Other films have tackled the question of humanity being alone in the cosmos, from classics like "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) "The War of the Worlds" (1953) "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977) "Arrival" deals with the idea of alien landings in a much different way than traditional Sci-Fi films. While the picture focuses on creatures from another planet, it still has the uncanny ability to question our own humanity.

Although "Arrival" is set up like many other Sci-Fi films with a doctor being needed by the government to do some top secret work to save human kind, it is not a traditional Sci-Fi film. Being Denis Villeneuve's first leap into the Sci-Fi genre "Arrival" is a story of self-reflection which is helped along by an alien presence. For no particular reason 12 alien ships land all over the planet in seemingly random locations. The only true form of communication takes place from a single opening in the bottom of the alien vessel, where Linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is tasked at trying to open up dialog with the visitors. Physicist Dr. Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) is tasked with finding out how the alien vessel is capable of travel through space and how it seemingly defies gravity. The real question however remains in not how the aliens got to earth, but why?

What sets this film apart from others in the genre is the way that it plays with the notion of time, love and the essence of being human. Which is showcased in director Denis Villeneuve and writer Eric Heisserer's effortless ability to jump from time and place. While trying to discover what the Aliens are, and their motivation, Dr. Louise Banks discovers what makes herself human and questions everything held sacred to her. "Arrival" is just as much a film about aliens landing on earth, as a film about self-discovery and the value placed on love and loss. Dr. Banks although participating in some of the most ground breaking work a linguist could ever be involved in, is haunted by the tragic loss of her daughter. This coupling of discovery and loss is reflected perfectly in the acting performance of Amy Adams who is often torn between several emotions throughout the film.

Just as in his previous movies "Sicario" (2015) and "Prisoners" (2013) Denis Villeneuve employed composer Jóhann Jóhannsson who created an eerie and often unsettling composition for "Arrival". The sound pairs perfectly with the strange other worldly images of the aliens and their craft, the composition adds another layer of complexity to the already foreign and creepy world that is the alien craft. Visually the film is fantastic with an expert play on light and dark imagery, and the very deliberate use of color to emphasize certain characters and events. This transfers into the shadowy and smoke filled environment inside the alien vessel as well as the ink like Rorschach style alien writing. The visual effects used in Arrival give a sense of other worldly presence making the ship look as if it were a great technical feat of some unknown civilization, yet at the same time look organic as if were merely plucked from the surface of some far off planet. The aliens themselves look as if acquired from a Guillermo del Toro set, they are octopus like with long tentacle arms and gunmetal gray coloration, which begs the question of how a creature like this could have the dexterity to craft a sophisticated vehicle.

The film comes together to create a package of visual, intellectual and audible bliss. The composition of Jóhann Jóhannsson is second to none and at times the sound plays a critical character in the film. The cast with inclusion of Michael Stuhlbarg and Forest Whitaker (2 actors not really know for Sci-Fi) was a welcome addition. The dynamic between Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner seemed organic and a hallmark of great acting. But the stand out performance was that of Amy Adams who played a truly troubled and conflicted character.

In "Sicario" Vileneuve finished the movie with unanswered questions and left a lot to the imagination. In "Arrival" the film ended with a perfectly packaged ending that felt too neat and tidy. The film went into some sophisticated ideas that dived into the essence of humanity, yet did not give the same license for abstract thought with the conclusion. Ultimately Arrival is not just an exploration of alien beings, it's an exploration at what makes us human, and the positive and negative aspects that are associated with that humanity.


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