Arrival - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Arrival Reviews

November 15, 2016
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
November 14, 2016
The best film of the year to date, ambitious in conception and extraordinary in execution, has arrived.
Top Critic
November 11, 2016
Learning Heptapodese seems easy compared to the tough talks Americans need to have with each other.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
November 11, 2016
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.
November 11, 2016
Arrival plays with your head as gently as any sci-fi thriller I can remember.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
November 11, 2016
Watching it, I was excited that such a strange piece of science fiction got made-and disappointed ...
November 11, 2016
Denis Villeneuve's latest is an artier - certainly moodier and less entertaining - version of M. Night Shyamalan's Signs.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
November 11, 2016
It's difficult to get worked into a state of awe with this film because so much of it is so sodden.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
November 11, 2016
Amy Adams is a miracle worker-she makes us believe in this mesmerizing mindbender about alien communication, directed with searching mind and heart by Denis Villeneuve.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 11, 2016
A twisty, cerebral drama that just happens to involve aliens, Denis Villeneuve's film is a truly beguiling take on both the sci-fi canon and what, exactly, a grown-up Hollywood film is supposed to be.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 11, 2016
It doesn't pack the punch you'd expect from an alien invasion movie; it aims higher, and in the end, it cuts deeper.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
November 10, 2016
[Villenueve has] a keen appreciation of film's ability to get at hidden truths.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
November 10, 2016
By turns inviting and opaque, Ms. Adams turns softness and quiet into heroic qualities, keeping her voice low, modulated, and using stillness to draw you near.
Top Critic
November 10, 2016
Arrival, like the Spielberg classic it aspires to, brings the beyond to us. In doing so, it asks a challenging, prescient question: Are we ready to teach, and ready to learn?
November 10, 2016
Arrival is grand, technically marvelous, solemn, spooky, somewhat unbelievable and sometimes unfathomable. Who is to say alien visitation will be any different?
November 10, 2016
"Arrival" makes a moving case that we've only scratched the surface of what we think is possible - and what we define as intelligence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 10, 2016
If you're yearning for a smart, thoughtful sci-fi film that wonders how first contact with aliens might go down, this tight little gem of a film is a gift from beyond the stars.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
November 10, 2016
The focus is serious human drama, gripping in a way that sci-fi seldom achieves. The film is intricately handsome and rarely showy, flawlessly made and earnest-minded.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
November 10, 2016
It is simultaneously old and new, revisiting many of these alien-invasion conventions but with unexpected intelligence, visual style and heart.
November 10, 2016
What's remarkable about Arrival is its contemplative core -- and, of course, Ms. Adams's star performance, which is no less impassioned for being self-effacing.
November 10, 2016
A familiar story about a close encounter, though well crafted and unusually moody.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
November 10, 2016
By the time it ends, Arrival is a story that could only be told in the science-fiction genre, and the result is a beautiful narrative that you find has been telling you things about itself without you ever realizing it.
Full Review | Original Score: A
November 10, 2016
Fine, full-bodied filmmaking, with a sense of the alien-ness out there in the universe that flatters our intelligence while making us feel tantalizingly small.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 10, 2016
Arrival is not a linear adventure of the mind, and it is a film probably best seen twice.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 10, 2016
Muted, measured and meditative, "Arrival" brings taste and restraint to a genre in the midst of a mini golden age: It comes in peace.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
November 10, 2016
Working from a screenplay by Eric Heisserer, director Denis Villeneuve creates a richly imagined world in which the theme of extraterrestrial outreach is addressed with a refreshing dignity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 10, 2016
[A] terrific, haunting film that plays with our expectations - and rewards us with satisfying left turns.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
November 10, 2016
Villeneuve draws on Close Encounters of the Third Kind for his portrayal of scientists and soldiers groping for answers and, more generally, of the celestial playing out in highly personal terms.
November 10, 2016
An alien-invasion fantasy that operates within the genre at the same time as it subverts it - large-scale movie-star sci-fi filtered through the tricky, esoteric lens of art-house cinema.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
November 10, 2016
"Arrival" is the sort of superficially profound movie that initially seems deep and weighty but stops making sense the moment you put down the bong.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
November 10, 2016
How many sci-fi movies actually give you ideas to argue about anymore? How many sci-fi movies give you ideas at all?
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
November 10, 2016
Arrival is at its best when pregnant with the suspense of the possible, when the unidentified stationary objects bear no trace of their intentions. But the film becomes less intriguing as the story's direction moves from teasingly opaque to crystal-clear.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
November 10, 2016
Arrival has come, like a visitor from the cosmos, to blow minds and break hearts.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
November 10, 2016
So much of the pleasure of Denis Villeneuve's poignant science-fiction drama "Arrival" lies in watching Amy Adams figure things out.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 9, 2016
If Arrival succeeds at the box office, it will shine as a beacon in favor of not dumbing down every production to appease the distracted and disinterested masses.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
November 9, 2016
Arrival is at once majestic and melancholy. It's a grand endeavor, and Adams, at the center of it all, brings pluck and smarts and a deep-seated sorrow to her role. This is her movie, no doubt.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
November 9, 2016
[Adams] delivers a heart-wrenchingly beautiful performance using her ability to communicate a half-dozen emotions just standing still... But director Denis Villeneuve sometimes gets lost in repetition and blind alleys.
November 9, 2016
Arrival is a weird flick, slow and tedious, too metaphysical for Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone and most likely to appeal to people who like to play video games and solve puzzles.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
November 9, 2016
Adams is convincing and smart-seeming, bringing appropriate queasiness to the position of being a college professor drawn into a rough military world.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
November 8, 2016
Arrival arrives at a good time, as something of a salve for the ugly discourse going on and a reminder to us that thinking big is really worthwhile.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 8, 2016
Arrival is such a beautiful and thought-provoking film that it almost singlehandedly makes up for every bad aliens-coming-to-Earth film you've ever seen.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
November 8, 2016
Much of Arrival - the part that sticks closest to its source, egghead sci-fi cult figure Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" - is an eerie, tantalizing, altogether superb puzzler.
November 7, 2016
Arrival has its heart in the right place. Who doesn't want smart sci-fi? Who wants to argue with a big budget drama about linguistics? And though the film is not more than sum of its parts, well, those parts are pretty great.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
November 7, 2016
So sure is the stride of the narrative, and so bracing the air of expectation, that you feel yourself, like Louise, beginning to spin, and barely able to catch your breath.
November 4, 2016
For most of its running time, Arrival is entrancing, intimate, and moving - a sci-fi movie that looks not up at the stars but rather deep within.
October 27, 2016
An outstanding sci-fi film with an intergalactic language lesson.
September 10, 2016
A film that forces viewers to reconsider that which makes us truly human, and the impact of grief on that timeline of existence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
September 1, 2016
Plenty of smart ideas and bravura visuals.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
September 1, 2016
Arrival gives us a lot to take in, and the picture is big, somber and grand, if in the end somewhat sterile.
September 1, 2016
Anchored by an internalized performance from Amy Adams rich in emotional depth, this is a grownup sci-fi drama that sustains fear and tension while striking affecting chords on love and loss.
September 1, 2016
A fairly chilly, cerebral bit of business, from its beautifully tamped-down cinematography (by modern master Bradford Young) to Jˇhann Jˇhannsson's ethereal score.