“Arrival,” Listening, and Communicating

I suppose that I’m getting a bit of a reputation around these parts as being the sci-fi/pop culture geek, and today isn’t going to break the cycle.

The best science fiction is a way to look at the world we live in and ask ourselves what it means to be human–I know, it’s a tall order. So, when a movie comes along that fits the bill, I go out of my way to support it.

That movie is Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival.

Arrival is about a linguist who is recruited by the government to help communicate with mysterious aliens who have landed on Earth.

What follows is a beautiful, quiet, and measured reflection on communication and understanding. Not only does the story dive deeply into the science of communication (what elements of speech do you have to teach someone to convey that you are asking a question?), but it also stands as a more reflective metaphor for global society.

Adrienne Clark
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