Unforgettable. Imaginative. Beautiful. These are just a few words being used to describe Arrival, Denis Villeneuve's film about a linguistics professor turned alien translator. Giving it a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, critics can't seem to say enough good things. A sampling:
- "Where Gravity and The Martian proved there was still such a thing as thinking man's sci-fi, Arrival perfects it," writes Brian Truitt at USA Today. It's "such a beautiful and thought-provoking film that it almost single-handedly makes up for every bad aliens-coming-to-Earth film you've ever seen." Just a few things to enjoy: a "heartbreaking gem" of a script, a "mind-blowing" third act, and the acting chops of Amy Adams, who cements herself as "a definite contender in the best actress Oscar race."
- It's "an imaginative, escapist what-if scenario overlaid with semi-profound questions about fate, loss and the meaning of love," enhanced by "a superb, quietly interior performance by Adams," writes Ann Hornaday at the Washington Post. The highlight is "a tricky series of fakes and feints that keep viewers unsure." A warning: you may shed tears, but only "the good kind," Hornaday says.
- For Adam Graham, Arrival is "unforgettable … because it does virtually nothing that you’ve come to expect from an alien invasion movie," he writes at Detroit News. "It aims higher, and in the end, it cuts deeper" with thrills that are "cerebral rather than physical." Graham particularly praises Johann Johannsson for a "stirring score" and Villeneuve for his ability to "balance high art with commercial necessities."
- The film "draws viewers in slowly and inexorably" and "patience pays off in a curve-throwing ending that fills you with a sense a wonder, not to mention shock and awe," writes Peter Travers at Rolling Stone. Adams, meanwhile, is "a miracle worker," he writes. "With her, the film gets inside your head and emerges as something intimate and epic, a linguistics odyssey through space and time. It's the stuff that dreams are made of."
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