Arrival: Why Are They Here?

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For a short account of Arrival, all I can say is that it has some of the most interesting concepts I’ve seen this year and I highly recommend catching it at the cinemas. Since I will be discussing some of the important parts of the film, you can expect some spoilers so continue at your own risk if you haven’t seen it yet.

What interested me most about Arrival was that it wasn’t a sci-fi film per se. Yes, there were aliens and spaceships with technology that humans had no way of understanding and it definitely made me question our perception of time, but the film was more deeply concerned by the notions of language. Anyone who has studied another language will know all to well about the subtle intricacies that exist when speaking, let’s say, German compared to Spanish. Some words are simply not directly translatable and can therefore cause confusion or lose their meaning when swapping between languages. But rather than stopping there, Arrival dug a little deeper to show how language can shape the very perception of our reality.

If there is one part of Arrival I didn’t agree with it would be Louise’s choice at the end of the film. With her new understanding of time, she knows what will happen if she chooses to have a baby with Ian. It isn’t her choice of continuing this timeline that frustrates me, it is the fact that she doesn’t let Ian know about the eventuality that will arise – that is; the death of their daughter Hannah. Her decision to still have a baby made sense to me since the joy that Hannah would bring in the years that she is healthy clearly outweighs the pain of losing her in the future. But the fact that she does not confide in Ian goes against what I would like to think I would do in that situation.

Any thoughts on Arrival? Let me know in the comments below!

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