Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Raheem
Peace and blessings be upon you all
I just finished watching it a couple of minutes ago and I’m writing this post now as at the end of the movie, a cold stream was gushing in my belly and oozing out of my eyes. For something to trigger such reactions inside me deserves a post to explain this stream.
Rating: 9.5/10 (I’m not a good critic, I just go by my gut…..and tummy…..and my tear glands.)
CAUTION: SPOILERS ALERT!!
Arrival is about a language expert, Louise (Amy Adams) who is called by the government to help them decipher as to what the purpose of the arrival of aliens on their planet is, along with a scientist (Jeremy Renner). The story unravels with their discoveries as well as governments making intense decisions against the aliens.
1. RESPECT FOR ALIENS:
What I loved about this movie is how much respect is given to the aliens. If you look at the initial films of aliens like ‘Mars Attacks!’and from then onwards, aliens are shown as strange, gruesome looking unusual creatures. Unusual, I agree but strange and gruesome? That’s just our perception. With time, aliens didn’t become the enemy but oppressed refugees from their home planet and targets of governments of the earth, like ET. Then as more time passed, some are made to look human or less ‘gruesome-looking’, like Race to Witch Mountain. I think it is possible that with time, as we wonder about life outside of earth; their appearance, intelligence and demeanor, we’ve sort of accepted that if life even exists outside of Earth, they can behave like us.
A stranded human in an unknown land can be frightened of the new world or want to enter it peacefully. Similarly, an alien would not necessarily have evil intentions; they may just be stranded, wanting to ensure peace with the new world or even provide aid. I love how films about aliens are no longer ‘Shoot first, ask later’ now but are starting off with peaceful intentions, with safety precautions. In addition, the film allowed the aliens to be the ‘good people’ and beings of knowledge with their nature of sharing it.
2. THE COMPLEX BEAUTY OF LANGUAGE:
Furthermore, I love how the understanding of human language and alien language was explained; how many components are in a question, how do you emphasise a request for an answer, how multiple words or a single word make a sentence, how there are patterns and similarities in words and sentences etc. As I’m learning Arabic at the moment, I understand the importance of words and phrases, how to put emphasise on words, how saying the same sentence in different ways has a different impact. As in the movie, they attempt to understand a foreign language which has its own background, story and style of writing so the importance of knowing whether a word means a ‘weapon’ or ‘tool’ is compared to a straight line or a curved line. If you get lost in translation for even a single word or syllable, war would unleash. Also, their language was very cool, I would’ve loved it if the film could’ve delved into it more.
Lastly, the story of Louise was beautiful; how her husband left her and she lost her daughter at a young age and stayed reserved with a void in her heart. Then after she was given the opportunity to communicate with the aliens, she wasn’t too emotional but scientifically empathetic. When the aliens give their ‘weapon’ of seeing the future to Louise, she becomes confused and scared as to who the child is in the future and fragments of the good and bad events about the future, and whether she is prepared to embrace this future. The aliens told her they wanted to help humanity and we see what they meant was to save humanity from being disunited, fighting each other and losing trust in each other. However, they also wanted to help her. They trusted her and gave her the gift of the future to help not just humanity but herself; to remind her that life wasn’t over and she could still start anew, even if there were dark moments ahead. They helped ease her pain like no person on earth could. She could’ve lived that life without being told about it but being shown empathy, concern, love and trust by aliens in the way it was told in the movie was so beautiful it could lift anyone’s spirits. In the end, she found the peace she had been yearning for, even though her future possessed a similar fate as her past. At that moment, the floodgates had opened.
All in all, a very touching, thought-provoking movie with amazing dialogues, analysis of language, and beautiful music at exactly the correct time. If you haven’t seen it yet, do watch it. If you’ve seen it, let me know what you think. I’m so excited! (and holding in the flood)
I came across this article that revealed even more about the plot of the movie, Do give it a read.