Critics Consensus

Arrival delivers a must-see experience for fans of thinking person's sci-fi that anchors its heady themes with genuinely affecting emotion and a terrific performance from Amy Adams.



Total Count: 409


Audience Score

User Ratings: 82,371
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Movie Info

When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team--lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams)--are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers--and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.


Amy Adams
as Dr. Louise Banks
Jeremy Renner
as Ian Donnelly
Forest Whitaker
as Colonel Weber
Michael Stuhlbarg
as Agent Halpern
Mark O'Brien (IX)
as Captain Marks
Tzi Ma
as General Shang
Abigail Pniowsky
as Hannah (8 yrs. old)
Julia Scarlett Dan
as Hannah (12 yrs. old)
Jadyn Malone
as Hannah (6 yrs. old)
Frank Schorpion
as Dr. Kettler
Christian Jadah
as Private Combs
Andrew Shaver
as Environmental Tech
Pat Kiely
as Environmental Tech
Sonia Vigneault
as Dr. j. Bydwell
Mark Camacho
as Richard Riley
Sabrina Reeves
as Press Secretary
Julian Casey
as Australian Scientist
Tony Robinow
as British Scientist
Larry Day
as CIA Officer Dan Ryder
Ruth Chiang
as Chinese Scientist
Russell Yuen
as Chinese Scientist
Sergey Marchenko
as Russian Officer
Anana Rydvald
as Swedish Scientist
Bineyam Girma
as Sudan Representative
Abdelghafour Elaaziz
as African Representative
Abdul Ayoola
as Sierra Leone Representative
Alex M. Yeuh
as Japanese Minister
Daniel Esteban
as Venezuelan Representative
Albert Kwan
as Chinese Man
Brittany Teo
as Grad Student with Smartphone
Joe Cobden
as Cryptographer
Lorne Brass
as Cryptographer
Genevieve Sirois
as Cryptographer
Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles
as Science Team Member
Michael Nangreaves
as Science Team Member
Reda Guerinik
as Communication Ops
Adrien Benn
as Communication Ops
Sasha Samar
as Communication Ops
Kathleen Stavert
as Communication Ops
Kattia Thony
as Communication Ops
Brian Dunstan
as TV Anchor
Dan Duran
as TV Anchor
Lori Graham
as TV Anchor
Orla Johannes
as TV Anchor
John Moore
as TV Anchor
Sangita Patel
as TV Anchor
Hal Roberts
as TV Anchor
Camille Ross
as TV Anchor
Ola Sturik
as TV Anchor
Max Walker
as TV Anchor
Martin Pelletier Jr.
as Motion Capture Heptapod
Martin Pelletier Jr.
as Motion Capture Heptapod
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News & Interviews for Arrival

Critic Reviews for Arrival

All Critics (409) | Top Critics (55) | Fresh (385) | Rotten (24)

  • The revelation here is Villeneuve, who expands on the symphonic pacing showcased last year in the drug war drama Sicario. Even though the concept of Arrival is far-out fiction, Villeneuve treats it with no less detail or urgency.

    Nov 15, 2016 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • The best film of the year to date, ambitious in conception and extraordinary in execution, has arrived.

    Nov 14, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Learning Heptapodese seems easy compared to the tough talks Americans need to have with each other.

    Nov 11, 2016 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Amy Nicholson

    Top Critic
  • With Arrival, Villeneuve finally finds a subject, and a script, whose magnitude matches the weight he assigns to it. All it took was an alien species' appearance on Earth.

    Nov 11, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Sam Adams
    Top Critic
  • Those expecting a whiz-bang film should be prepared for a more cerebral and emotional experience, admirable for its ambition and tone, if not wholly satisfying in its payoff.

    Nov 11, 2016 | Full Review…

    Brian Lowry
    Top Critic
  • Arrival plays with your head as gently as any sci-fi thriller I can remember.

    Nov 11, 2016 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Arrival

  • Sep 10, 2018
    Good. Definitely made me think.
    Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2017
    If our first contact with an alien race turns out to be as boring as this movie, then I hope it doesn't happen. Big disappointment considering the nominations, which makes it one of the most overrated movies of 2016. Their ships look stupid, the aliens themselves look stupider, and there's generally a lack of awe at this event. Only Jeremy Renner shows any signs of life, everyone else is sleepwalking including Amy Adams who is blander than Top 40 radio. She's a highly skilled linguist recruited by the military to communicate with these aliens, but none of her studying makes any difference as her only breakthroughs occur through memory flashes interacting with her daughter. Naturally the military gets trigger-happy solely in order to inject some form of tension which is utterly predictable. There's a fairly nifty revelation at the very end, but it's relied upon far too heavily to have a Shyamalan effect and cannot salvage the dreary experience until then. I enjoy heady sci-fi like Ex Machina and Interstellar as recent examples, but Arrival comes up well short with the only truly clever aspects being the aliens' writing method and the title. Opt for another viewing of Close Encounters instead.
    Doctor S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 18, 2017
    A beautifully acted and cerebral piece of sci-fi that's almost as smart as it portends to be, Arrival nonetheless captivates with a thought-provoking puzzler that brings to mind Close Encounters of the Third Kind...had Terrence Malick directed it, that is. In this PG-13-rated sci-fi drama, linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors after twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world. Contemplative is the word for this thinking man's alien invasion flick. Our eyes, ears and mind, Banks is a linguist emotionally scarred by a tragedy. She doesn't think linearly and neither does the film. Far from straight-forward, the film mindbends and timebends with achingly gorgeous photography that frames the locations as much as the characters. This is a key point. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Interstellar before it, Arrival wraps you up in an atmospheric spectacle while leaving a lightyear's worth of room for interpretation. The end result is both quantitative and qualitative, though director Denis Villenueve had some obvious influences. Terrence Malick never made a straight sci-fi flick but, if he did, it might look a lot like this. The beauty of nature being interrupted by an obstructive force and opaque flashbacks/flash forwards are two Malick touchstones that both feature prominently in Arrival. Villenueve's work has always been bleak and gripping but his latest definitely resembles Malick's The Tree of Life more than Prisoners or Sicario. Like those last two searing dramas, it still concentrates on troubled characters and maintains a funereal tone but the canvas is more expansive and less conclusive. For some audiences, it will make them say 'Huh?' For the filmgoers that say 'Hmm,' however, Arrival is a welcome departure from the cut and dry space franchises currently Trekking and Warring across screens. Regardless of where the coin falls, Amy Adams grounds the drama quotient for all viewers with a deeply emotional performance. Ever since her very deserving Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Junebug in 2005, this artist has made bold affecting choices. That she would do this and the very different Nocturnal Animals within the same short window, both daring but singularly amazing turns, seems improbable if not downright impossible. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker turn in solid supporting performances without which she couldn't fully develop her character, but make no mistake about it: Second to Villeneuve, this is her show. And that goes for the aliens too. To Sum it Up: Earth Girls are Easy A
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • May 13, 2017
    Arrival is a fascinating and provocative science fiction thriller that delves into some weighty and complex concepts about communication and how we perceive time and space. When several mysterious alien crafts appear throughout the world the U.S. Army recruits linguist professor Louise Banks to join a team of specialists that will attempt to make contact. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner lead the cast and deliver incredibly strong performances; especially Adams, who gives a career best. And the special effects and score do an effective job at setting a dark and foreboding tone. Also, the writing is extraordinarily ambitious (a little too much so at times) and explores some really interesting ideas. A smart and sophisticated film that challenged the audience, Arrival is remarkably compelling.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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