Before you assume that Arrival is simply another picture about aliens making a pit-stop at Earth, let me assure you it isn't. In fact, the aliens in this story are just a sub-plot. The real story is about Amy Adams' character and how humans interact with one another. The focus of the movie is on language.
If that sounds unique and off the beaten track, well, it is. But this is the special ingredient that makes Arrival one of the best movies of the past year. In fact, when I went to buy my ticket, the young lady at the ticket counter got excited that I was seeing it, expressing her admiration for the film. I walked out sharing that same admiration.
Amy Adams plays an elite linguist who is tapped by the military to help them when alien ships suddenly appear around the planet. How do we communicate with a strange species? How do we keep from making a mistake that will lead to our extinction? And in that mix, we discover as we watch that our definition of time is more fluent than it appears.
There is a story inside a story here but I won't touch on it because it will ruin a major aspect of the film. This movie though, based on a short story from the late 90's, is an instant classic. The script is tight, the aliens are designed in a rather awesome fashion, and there is a realistic touch to this movie that adds a layer of credibility to all the characters.
As far as I am concerned, Amy Adams is one of the best actresses out there. She brings a vulnerability to her character that invites the audience into her very soul. I think this is one reason audiences have loved this movie so much.
The supporting cast is great as well. Jeremy Renner plays a scientist on the team and wonderful Forest Whitaker portrays the Army officer in charge. Make no mistake though, this is an Amy Adams movie. Everything revolves around her character.
I would give this movie a 10 on my rating scale of 5 if I could. If it is still playing in a cinema near you, then by all means buy a ticket and see it. If not, look for it soon on dvd or maybe in re-release around Oscar time.