7.91 h 56 min2016X-RayHDRUHDPG-13
When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team - led by expert translator Louise Banks (Academy Award nominee Amy Adams) - races against time to decipher their intent.
Denis Villeneuve
Amy AdamsJeremy RennerForest Whitaker
DramaScience Fiction
English (US) [CC]English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Michael StuhlbargTzi Ma
Shawn LevyDan LevineAaron RyderDavid LindeStan WlodkowskiEric HeissererDan CohenKaren LunderTory MetzgerMilan Popelka
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Violencefoul languagealcohol use
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4.5 out of 5 stars

18526 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

OakleyReviewed in the United States on June 20, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Pace Is Amazed Wonder ... Intelligent & Beautiful Movie
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There are so many reviews here, no one is ever going to read mine, yet I feel compelled to write it anyway. First off, I am NOT a sci-fi fan, but after talking to friends who are, I am inclined to think that is part of the reason I liked this movie. While they thought it was "slow" because they have encountered all kinds of aliens and time warps and weirdnesses in their past viewing and reading, I found the pace just right to process the astonishment of what was unfolding. The characters were me/us/now -- if this was happening in our world, this is how we would be feeling and reacting. We share Louise's (Amy Adams) wide-eyed wonder and appreciate Ian's (Jeremy Renner) amazed, sardonic "Yeah, that just happened." The viewer may feel a bit of uneasy confusion about the seemingly random switching of scenes -- flashbacks? visions? planted memories? -- but all is explained by the end, very simply and without rapid dialogs or long, involved explanations. You might just think, as I did, "Oh, of course. Brilliant."
678 people found this helpful
CiNEMADDiCT | Strung Out On CelluloidReviewed in the United States on May 3, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Read my review if you're one of the people who claimed this movie sucked/was nonsensical
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I just finished watching this incredible film and wholeheartedly agree with the hype surrounding it, and the awards/accolades showered upon it that it won. The layered narrative was intelligent, devoid of spoon feeding, emotionally gripping and (in my opinion) an accurate representation of how our first contact would actually transpire.

I'm going to try and make this review as concise as possible, but it will be filled with spoilers because I feel that the negative reviews crying about the movie's pace and it's supposed 'randomness' and 'incoherence'/'nonsense' storyline are not only ridiculously inaccurate, but depressingly indicative of a generation of movie-goers and audience-participants afflicted with a kind of attention deficit derived from cancerous reality TV and unhealthy addictions to the 140/280-status-update-social-media-entertainment reality that unfortunately pervades society's everyday life now. ARRIVAL is not only an entertaining movie, but it's narrative made complete sense and was stunningly original and, ultimately, refreshing thanks to a kind of Drake-equation-authenticity approach to crafting a plausible scenario about humanity's first encounter with an advanced intergalactic wayfaring species.

So, being as brief and succinct as I can, here is the plot explained.

1. Louise and Ian are recruited to decipher the newly arrived visitor's language in an effort to uncover our guest's true motive for visiting.

2. I'm an earlier discussion in the film, Ian asks Louise about a linguistic theory and whether or not she abides by it's stated principal: when an individual immerses themselves in the study of new language(s), they ultimately rewire their synapses/brain chemistry and alter the way they interact with perceived reality and use of their senses. The name of the theory eludes me atm but it's stated in the movie.

3. Ian and Louise begin to immerse themselves in this new language with incredible results. Louise begins having flashbacks to the life of her and her husband daughter, who died at a tender young age from a rare, unknown affliction when she was a young teenager.

4. The round-the-clock immersion into Heptapodese logogram (the alien language and it's written symbols) also causes Louise to begin dreaming in Heptapodese logogram, as well as the Heptapodese spoken. This is evidenced by a brief spat between Louise and Ian where Ian asks Louise if she's been dreaming in Heptapodese instead of English, to which Louise replies, "so what, that doesn't mean I can't still do my job." The obvious takeaway is yes, Louise is in fact dreaming in the alien tongue (also evidenced by a very brief 5 second dream sequence where we see a Heptapod standing over Hannah and Louise's beds before Louise is jolted awake by the 18-hour-interval klaxon).

5. China and Russia give the Heptapods an ultimatum: leave in a day, or we will annihilate you; total destruction. Heptapods respond with a visual metaphor as well as a linguistic one: Twelve together are one (proceeded by the rotation of the Heptapod spheres revealing that each sphere is actually a perfectly measured fragment of an even bigger sphere which would be created if each of the twelve spheres parked in around the world decided to combine together (evidenced by Ian's measurement epiphany of 100 ÷ 12 after Heptapod Costello gives them that massively layered message). This makes Louise realize that the Heptapods are trying to tell them not to attack, but to combine all their knowledge learned from their encounters so they can communicate with them more productively. Against the wishes of cooler heads, a rogue faction of mutineers sabotage one of Louise and Ian's meetings with Abbott and Costello with C4 and Bushmasters in a futile attempt at attacking the Heptapods and killing Louise/Ian because of their antagonistic stance towards aggression. This of course fails, and the Heptapods save Louise and Ian by ejecting them from their ship before the c4 explosion can kill them. Unfortunately, the explosion mortally wounds one of the Heptapods and so all humans are now banned from entering the ship--except the translators.

6. Louise runs away from the compound after having a prescient vision of the Heptapod black ink swelling her hands which forces her to Intuit that the Heptapods want to speak to her and only her. So she runs to the middle of an open steppe and the Heptapods transport her aboard their ship. The surviving Heptapod expresses the other Heptapod's death to Louise to which she commiserates and apologizes for her species irrational and fearful behavior. She asks for the Heptapod to again reiterate the true nature/purpose of their visit, which it replies 'to help humanity, so that they can help us 3,000 years from now. ... The weapon we offer you is time. ... Louise can see the future." Louise learns that the Heptapods want to give her the gift of prescience/clairvoyance, but she can't understand how they will give it to her, or how it will work once they do give it to her.

7. Louise then has a 'flashback' about a conversation she once had at a UN event/Galla with General Shang, China's military figurehead spearheading the 24 hour ultimatum against the Heptapods. In this memory, Shang thanks Louise for reciting his wife's dying words of love to him because of the comfort and tranquility these words bring him in times of hardship. Louise then risks a charger of treason to make a satellite phone call to China to convince them to stand down from their ultimatum and to participate in the complete exchange and sharing of all gathered intelligence from the Heptapod interactions. Because of Louise's words to Shang, China agree s and the rest of the world follows China's lead.

8. Peace is restored as China softens it's stance and eliminates the ultimatum. The Heptapods leave after completing their job of giving humanity it's most useful weapon: itself. Humanity teams up to solve problems and boost progress, instead of competing and behaving surreptitiously. This is hinted at earlier in the film when Halpern comments to Louise and Ian something along the lines of 'How would you get anything done as an alien species if the other species your interacting with is divided into several leaders without one true position of power to guide everyone?' (not verbatim, but it's the exact spirit of what Halpern was saying.

9. Louise realises finally that, after all this time, her flashbacks of her daughter Hannah are actually prescient visions of a daughter that she has yet to give birth to. This epiphany tires back into the early part of the film when Ian take about the linguistic theory where fully immersing oneself in a new language alters the way one interacts with reality. Louise has immersed herself so deeply in Heptapodese logogram that it's effectively rewired her brain, making her clairvoyant.

10. It turns out that Ian is going to be Louise's future husband, and the father to their daughter Hannah. The movie ends with a sort of clairvoyant memory reel of the life of Louise, Ian, and Hannah's future journey together before tragedy takes Hannah away from them at a young age. We learn that the memories of Hannah randomly had throughout the movie were actually the sequences where her brain was altering itself as it tried to acclimate to this new prescient way of interacting with reality and time. Yet again, there's as very brief scene where Louise explains to the Colonel that Heptapodese logogram doesn't express time in a linear fashion like humanity's languages do--an early hint at the notion that whoever buckles down and learns Heptapodese logogram will ultimately be able to perceive time in a non-linear fashion.

Honestly, I thought ARRIVAL was a beautiful, almost magical film. It was so much more than a kind of ID4 Doomsday Alien flick that permeates the global cinematic universe. ARRIVAL may be a film about Heptapods and our attempts at understanding them, but ultimately it's a passionate movie about humanity coming together to genuinely better understand itself.

I know I said I would be brief, and I tried, but it looks like I failed (lol). Kudos if you read my wall of text, I hope this explained the story my clearly. If it clarified things, I also hope that it shorted your negative opinions on the film into more positive ones.

Bravo to Villeneuve and everyone involved in creating arrival. It's now in my top 5 alien films of all time! I give it six out of five stars and would definitely recommend to anyone who likes mature sci-fi with an emotional drama component to its narrative. Cheers
166 people found this helpful
Kathleen KruegerReviewed in the United States on November 28, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
The conclusion of Arrival haunts me.
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This movie haunts me. Sometime you watch a movie that makes you feel strong emotions like happiness or anger but not this one. This movie is a drama with an interesting twist at the end. I'll admit it kept me confused, which is what it was meant to do, until towards the end. It moved slow and I kept feeling like I was missing something, just like the main character. Then, when it all came together, I just "got" it, the same way the character did. We think we regard the main character from the outside but in reality we are experiencing the movie through her perceptions. If we remain open, not seeking to interpret the movie, we begin to understand and feel what she feels. This isn't as much about the aliens arriving as it is about a choice. That choice is what haunts me. It makes me question what would I have done with this knowledge? How would I choose? I recommend this movie but when it comes to the message you need to be patient and wait for it.
269 people found this helpful
BellaReviewed in the United States on November 6, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
If you want to die of boredom, watch this movie. 😒
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This movie was SOOOO bad! If good means making your eyes dry out for what seems like infinity years, then it’s good. So first, this big pebble shaped like a beauty blender appears out of nowhere and for some reason, they decide to GO TO IT. And then,these big fat angry squids that looked like blobs of black Jell-O with legs and feet popped out of it and decided to terrorize the Earth for NO APPARENT REASON AT ALL. And it turns out, they were actually giving someone a present which makes absolutely no sense at all. And then there was a really lazy physicist that would absolutely REFUSE to do any ACTUAL physics. And then this lady randomly saw and to the future and decided to call her boss and tell him something in Mandarin for some reason so she was about to get shot for having a cell phone, which makes NO SENSE. And then, it turned out that the mutant squids with giant chicken feet talked in a circle language,which is completely and utterly WEIRD. And then, this lady saw into the future and saw that she had a baby with a rare disease, and her husband randomly said:”Let’s make a baby.” Which is probably the weirdest and most random sentence I’ve heard in my entire lifetime, and then the started kissing, right then, right there. SPOILER ALERT: You would probably rather watch paint dry than watch this movie. Also, don’t blame me because you can never get the two hours of your life back that you wasted watching this movie.
CONCLUSION: So, when you watch a movie like this, you probabably expect you to be scared and for your adrenaline to get pumping and for it to be actually WORTH YOUR TIME to watch, and for there to be a really boring part at the end. But no, this movie was ALL boring. The only reason I didn’t fall asleep watching this movie is because I wasn’t really paying attention. Don’t be fooled by the awesome cover and awesome title, this movie is NOT exiting at any degree. If you don’t believe me, watch the movie. THEN you will. (P.S. The only reason that I gave this movie a star is because the cover and the title. The music is SUPER boring.)
112 people found this helpful
Woodshop ManReviewed in the United States on May 6, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
An intellegent, mind expanding piece of art.......nonsense.
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I noticed that most reviewers that rank this movie poorly are attacked; called knuckle dragging imbeciles that only like Chuck Norris movies and didn't have the intellect to appreciate the majestic breath of this film.
Let's see then; these squids things come to Earth to make sure we don't kill ourselves because they can see into the future and they need us in the future to save or help them. Why? That's never explained, but maybe they are making sure that our population is bountiful so that they have something to eat when their planet runs out of food.
Then it's the lead actress; she gets the squids power, to see into the future, and sees that she will marry this man, have a daughter and the daughter dies young of a unmentioned fatal disease.
She CAN change her future, but choices not to. Her husband divorces her because she didn't tell him that she knew his daughter would die young. She has the child and she dies young. She chooses to let these tragedies happen anyway. What a nice person. How about adopting.
And, if she could tell the future AND choose to alter that future....why didn't she see alternatives futures? She just saw the ONE future.
And why add the military angle; bombing the squid space craft?
Yeh, what a probing intellectual piece of dog dung.
44 people found this helpful
NettiReviewed in the United States on November 14, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
Use as a sleep aid
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How did this get 4 stars? Slight spoiler alert follows... 3 aliens that look like a cross between elephants and octopus stand in a smoky blurry room and draw smoke rings over and over. That is the whole movie.
59 people found this helpful
airmanxxReviewed in the United States on December 13, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
One word to sum it up, stupid.
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This was a stupid movie from start to finish. Enlightened reviewers may say "you just don't get it"... To that I say that I "got it" perfectly, it's just that "it" is a rediculous, stupid, boring waste of time. It is a movie that tries to twist your mind- reminds me of interstellar, which I actually didn't "get" at all, but at least stuff happened in that one. To make it worse the video was horrible... We exited the movie and tried other streams just to make sure there was nothing wrong with our tv/streaming. There was not. The video was fuzzy throughout, apparently intentionally, and only made worse by the entire thing being gloomy and dark. I am angry that I gave part of my life to this- stay away.
50 people found this helpful
Slo-HandReviewed in the United States on January 9, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Low Budget/Darkly Shot
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There is a lot of bought hype behind this movie but many of you can save yourself the aggravation of watching a bad movie and order ' Interstellar' instead. That is a truly fantastic movie with a big budget featuring top notch writing and great acting performances. Quite frankly I don't think Amazon should even be selling this movie because within 5 minutes of watching it I already had that sinking feeling I'd been had and yet I soldiered on to the inevitable bad movie ending. I could not believe how horrible this movie was. At least half the movie was shot in the dark to save money on sets, lighting and retakes. The screenplay could have been written by a child. I won't get into spoilers not that it would matter but please save yourself the time, money and frustration and avoid this disaster !
24 people found this helpful
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