But, of course, this is a film. Dr. Arroway is the protagonist, and a very likable one. The audience wants to see her succeed and gain recognition, so it gives us that in very convenient ways. The romance that's not really a romance between Jodie Foster and McConaughey is believable, but almost unnecessary. I believe the director and writer both understood this, which is why nothing really blossomed between them and was mainly created to display the gap between two characters with wildly different beliefs and mindsets. The two characters displayed how the world would be torn if such a thing like this were to ever happen, with very well-written and interesting conversations between them.
Overall, this film does raise questions, but sadly, it answers them, unlike Prometheus (2012) or Under the Skin (2013). It is a crowdpleaser with great performances by Foster as the lead and McConaughey. The relationships between Foster and her team are fully formed and believable, especially with the character of Kent. This film is mildly thought-provoking, gripping, and a hell of a lot of fun.
Personally, I must admit that I myself have worried what other worlds' inhabitants would think of our civilization from the messages it might get from Earth. Though I thankfully haven't lost any sleep over it (I have 'Thumper' in the apartment above me to thank for that), as Led Zeppelin would say in the classic 'Stairway to Heaven', '...and it makes me wonder'.
As what happens in most of these movies, it's rather anticlimactic once the different cultures meet. I'll say to my dying day that the most difficult thing to do in cinema is end a film. Here (unlike perfect sci-fi masterpieces, like '2001: A Space odyssey' or the more recent 'Children of Men') the decent but otherwise unspectacular ending makes me avoid a perfect rating here. But it's awfully close, worth both owning and rewatching, and provides fairly early evidence (which would come to bold fruition in 'Killer Joe') that Matthew McConaughey could actually act. It's also a tossup between this, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' and 'Back to the Future' for my favourite Zemeckis moment.