Denis Villeneuve, 2016
The sky isn’t clear anymore.
Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a linguist. Some intriguing spacecrafts appear in the world. Louise is requested by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) to make contact with aliens along with the physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).
Louise interacts with two heptapods that she calls Abbott and Costello. Their language is complex. The more she learns about it, the more she has flashes. A misunderstanding about the aliens’ intention almost creates a nuclear apocalypse.
Louise understands the aliens want to give the possibility to mankind to travel through time so mankind can help them back in the future, when the time has come. She travels through time to convince General Shang (Tzi Ma) not to attack.
With this gift she can also predict that the daughter she will have in the future will die of an incurable disease. And yet when Ian asks her if she wants a baby, she says yes.
Arrival is about changing perspective.
The spacecraft appears in the sky like a stain on a x-ray. The aliens are like a cancer. It’s not good or bad, it just is. They remember us about our own death and that time is running short. When this happens, the life as we know changes entirely. All our landmarks are distorted. The rules of physics blow out. Gravity suddenly has a strange sense of humor. Everything we think is certain isn’t anymore. And no one has a clue.
Facing the unknown, some people react with aggression, like the military. Whenever General Shang doesn’t know, fear talks. He uses chemotherapy. He burns everything.
Remember what happened to the aborigines. A more advanced race nearly wiped them out.
Some others instead react with intelligence. They try to think and understand, like Louise. She uses alternative medicine by taking her helmet off. There is actually nothing to be afraid of. She introduces herself to the aliens. She engages with them in a dialogue.
If you immerse yourself into a foreign language, then you can actually rewire your brain.
Yeah, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. It’s the theory that the language you speak determines how you think and…
Yeah, it affects how you see everything.
That enables her to open her eyes about life and reconsiders time.
If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?
Louise is now aware of what’s coming. Unlike most of us who consider ourselves aware but live the life as usual, Louise looks at the situation eye to eye. She accepts it. If she gets together with Ian they might separate and they might even have a daughter who will die. Knowing this reality, she still decides to live her life. Thanks to this encounter with the aliens, she can appreciate life better now, before everything ends.
Despite knowing the journey… and where it leads… I embrace it… and I welcome every moment of it.
Meeting with death is nothing but a way to meet with ourselves and define what we want to accomplish while we’re alive.
You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.
Should we be afraid that things end? If there was no tomorrow, how would we want to lead our life? What are we waiting for?
This publication reflects the views only of the author.