Arrival is a science fiction masterpiece that exploits our core abiding desire to feel and experience something out of this world.
This film honestly forced on me some pretty extreme mood changes, in a great way. The beginning felt legitimately scary and intense. The art design for the spaceships edged heavily on brutalism and the accompanied deep sounds of the aliens just felt scary.
There is somewhat of a divide in sci-fi fans when it comes to movies like this or Interstellar. Some people just want a straight up, science fiction story, without all the emotional and dramatic plot aspects. To me, if you care enough to invest some serious attention to this movie, it works for both sides. There are practical reasons pertaining to the actual story that explain why the characters make the choices they do. Yes, there are basic bullshit messages we can derive from this movie such as “everything happens for a reason” and “living in the moment” but they’re a very dumbed down expression of what this film really means.
Go see this movie.