ARRIVAL film

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  • i’m a huge fan of leaving well-ended stories right where they are. Sequels so often sequel sequelingly. But it is a curious thing to think about, what the aliens might need.

    Re DS9, i don’t know whether there’s any conscious connection, but it struck me because i watched them so close together. i’ve never seen Voyager or Enterprise either. We caught reruns of TOS and Next Gen when i was young, and our Geek family started as a Next Gen viewing party (we watched a disc, four episodes, every week for the better part of a year).

    Anyone have any thoughts on whether time is entirely a matter of physics or whether it is at least partly (as @jwhittle puts it) a perceptual artifact of our meat brains? And what other cerebreal (mis)firings did this movie suggest to you?

    My husband and I saw it Thursday night, and I had a hard time understanding it. Pete ~ you said that the scenes Louise saw were flash forwards, not flashbacks. But I’m wondering why, when she and Ian were embracing near the end, she said something like, “I forgot how good it feels to have you hold me.” And how did she know what the Chinese general’s wife said on her deathbed.?

    Also, how did the aliens know to come to that location, where Louise was? I guess my mind leans to being more logical than imaginative. So I wonder how all the pieces fit together.

    @sharonf, the key to the flash-forwards is what Louise says when she starts to realize what’s happening to her—the Heptapods don’t experience time linearly, and their language reflects that, so as one learns to not only understand but internalize their language, their experience of time becomes nonlinear also. Louise begins remembering backwards—which is crazy!—because she’s no longer limited to a linear experience of time. i think what’s going on in the opening scenes is that we are being given a flash-forward before Louise starts flashing forward.

    The aliens didn’t know to come to Louise specifically. They sent twelve (i think) ships to places all over the world, and the one Louise ended up at required a helicopter trip (i forget where she started and where the ship was). The story centered on her rather than on one of the other locations/linguists simply because she connected with them and thus internalized the language and started making sense of things before the other linguists did. It was a matter of empathy.

    Laure ~ Is there any significance to Louise talking to her daughter about her name being a palindrome–spelled the same forwards and backward?

    @sharonf i do think so.

    I’m still wondering how Louise knew what the Chinese general’s wife said on her deathbed.


    Ben
    Hutchmate
    @benjikunz

    Hey Sharon! Hopefully this answers your question:

    This is getting into tricky time-travel territory where things usually start to break down. Louise was actually hearing the General Shang’s wife’s dying words for the first time when she looked into the future and he told them to her at the party. Unbeknownst to future Shang, he was essentially telling himself his wife’s dying words when he told future Louise, because past Louise would be able to look into the future and relay that information to past Shang to stop the war.

    Louise had just decoded the alien language enabling her to look into the future and see this information so, incredibly enough, she was able to make a future event (Shang telling Louise his wife’s dying words) bring about a past event (the end of the war) by simply seeing it happen ahead of time. This is usually where the whole time-traveling bit stops making sense in films, but it’s pretty remarkable how consistent this development is.

    Hope that helped. Still haven’t gone back in for a second viewing, but the more I think about this movie the more I want to see it again.

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    Ben
    Hutchmate
    @benjikunz

    Also, concerning the palindrome… I think Hannah’s name being a palindrome is symbolic of the story as a whole. One small but (possibly) important detail I noticed in the film is that it ends where it begins: Louise looking out at the lake from her house. The film itself is somewhat of a palindrome. I think it also pertains to Louise’s journey. Since Louise can now see through time, her story isn’t linear to her anymore–she can view it frontwards and backwards and still end up with the same result.

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    Thanks, @benjikunz. That was explained well.

    Exactly, Ben. The whole film was palindromic.

    ---Hutchmaster Prime, wielder of great and terrible cheeses


    Jonny Jimison
    Participant
    @jonnyjimison

    Last night I finally saw Amy Adams Talks to Aliens (which is the title of the film around our house) and had to scour Rabbit Room to find this thread because I needed to hear the thoughts this community had on the film. Stunningly good, right from the beginning, and even better when I had the perspective of the whole film.

    Jeffrey Overstreet’s review of this film (in attempting to avoid spoilers) focused on the global unfriending; this thread seems more focused on the bigger focus of the film, the connections between Louise to the aliens and to family – they’re all things that struck me while watching the film, and they all add up to the core theme of communication. I can’t remember how to do the ‘hidden spoilers’ thing in the forum so I’ll leave it at that, but what a great film.

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