The Planet Earth suddenly has twelve mystifying cylindrical spacecraft hovering over a selection of the World's Capital Cities. Linguistics professor Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is given the responsibility of interpreting the language of the, as yet unseen, Alien guests.
Just FYI there are going to be spoilers all the way through this review because the plot line is convoluted and the need to explain is great.
I did not know anything about Arrival, hadn't watched any trailers, read any reviews or looked up the Box Office tally. And, for that reason I think, I fell in love with the film from the outset.
The arrival of the twelve gigantic upright spacecraft reminded me greatly of the first Independence Day film. But with one huge difference and that's not the horizontal / vertical thing. It appears these Aliens are being considered as friendly.
The USA armed forces put Louise, a Linguistics expert, in charge of finding out why the Aliens have come to Earth. She is nonplussed at the magnitude of her task but soon starts spouting buzzwords and impressing her co-workers.
It's really inspiring the simplistic way that Louise approaches teaching her Aliens how to communicate. By starting with names and then gradually moving forward the Aliens and Louise both become educated.
But she feels exasperated at the slow pace of learning and on one visit she just steps out of her space suit and goes to talk to Aliens face to face. One of the most dramatic Sci-Fi scenes ever I would suggest and unlike Spielberg's Close Encounters and E.T. there is no schmaltz. It is bravery personified.
The plot is convoluted, yes, but worth spending some time digesting every detail because it is brilliant, in my opinion. The basic principles of time are dissected and there is to-ing and fro-ing between decades. But it feels new and different not like the rehash of a lesser film.
Amy Adams is a formidable actor as she is utterly believable in everything she does. Just think the girl who sang her way through "Enchanted" is the same girl who cooked her way through "Julie & Julia". She was even in Buffy!
Just one final spoiler. Louise works out it is the Alien's gift to mankind that time is not lateral, you can skip about and change things, if you have the key. The Aliens give us the key.
The film earned $203mil approximately at the Worldwide Box Office and with a Production Budget of $47mil, it didn't do too badly. However, it deserved better, it's a great film with a much better storyline than Interstellar or Gravity.