i was worried this movie would have a vague abstract ending open to interpretation. when they started showing the play dough alien and her teaching the language i started getting so confused, wondering if it was time travel and she was affecting the past. then, in one climactic moment, the reveal. i went from not know wth was going on to understanding everything perfectly. the twist brought me to tears from how awesome it was. everything made sense at that moment. and it was a more perfect and satisfying conclusion than anything i would have come up with. and as with all great twists, they tell you the twist early in the movie, when they said something like "i thought this was the beginning, but they see time differently than us"
this movie also has a lot you can discuss afterwards. like the reason she got divorced (presumably because she told him their daughter would die and he was upset that she didn't tell him beforehand because he wouldn't have gone through with it). and the concept that the language is circular, and it doesn't matter if you read it forwards or backwards. that parallels her ability to now see time differently, not linearly. it also relates to the daughter's name being a palindrome. hannahannahannah.
She got married and had a baby knowing she would get divorced and lose the baby. I think that's the difference with seeing time all at once instead of linearly. The way we see time we would be sad at every moment after she died. The way the aliens look at time they see all of time at once so they always see that she died, but at the same time they always see every moment while she was alive and loved each other. That's kind of like when people say I wouldn't have changed anything because I cherish the time we had together. Some people can handle it well, other people would rather not even deal with it if they could avoid the pain that comes after. But I think if we could remember everything equally instead of just remembering mostly the last thing that happened , it would change our mind (2 viewings)
The acting is nevertheless very good and convincing.
Instead, it concentrates more on a more grounded sci-fi concept of communications as two different civilizations are trying to understand each other. Some people may dislike it to the core for the lack of action. And yet, they don't realize that 'Arrival' focuses on the concept of time as a sort 'loop' rather than the normal linear perception (being the default order of Past-Present-Future) Furthermore, what was considered the highlight of the show was that the flow of the story is almost representational to the alien glyph, in such a way that 'the ending of the turns out to be its beginning', like a sentence arranged in
a circular pattern without a full stop.
Given its strength, however, the movie is not without some of its weaknesses. >>> SPOILER ALERT <<< It still left me out a lot of questions which sometimes does not make any sense. For example:
_How does Louise knows about General Chang's wife's last dying words? Why did she called him in the first place? If she can convince him to stand down his force, how did she actually do it?
_Why did the aliens took only Louise up to their ship?
_What makes them depart earth altogether at the end?
_The question of 'What was your purpose here?' still being left unanswered. Almost feel like a cliffhanger.
Other than its flaws, 'Arrival' is no doubt one of the best sci-fi out there in 2016. If you enjoy a good film that keeps your grey juices pumping, then this is one of those recommendations. If you don't, perhaps you should spend some time watching the Screen Junkies reviews before making up your mind.