What Are We Suppose to Take Away After Watching ‘Arrival’?

arrival meaning

In an era where blockbuster films often rely on explosive action sequences and high-octane drama, Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” offers a refreshing departure.

This cerebral sci-fi drama, based on Ted Chiang’s short story “Story of Your Life,” invites viewers to embark on a journey that is as much about introspection as it is about extraterrestrial encounters.

But what are we, as an audience, truly meant to take away from this cinematic masterpiece?

The Transformative Power of Language

At its heart, Arrival delves into the profound impact of language on human cognition and perception. Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a linguist, is tasked with deciphering the language of the alien heptapods.

As she delves deeper into their circular, non-linear script, her very perception of time begins to shift.

The film beautifully illustrates the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, suggesting that the language we speak can shape our worldview and even our experience of reality.

Time’s Relativity and Predestination

Arrival challenges our linear understanding of time. The heptapods perceive time non-linearly, experiencing past, present, and future simultaneously.

This perspective forces viewers to grapple with questions of fate and free will.

If one could see the future, would it be possible, or even desirable, to change it?

The Essence of Communication

Beyond the spoken word, Arrival emphasizes the importance of genuine communication in fostering understanding and unity.

The global tension in the film, stemming from misinterpretations of the heptapods’ message, serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of miscommunication on a grand scale.

Embracing Life’s Joys and Sorrows

Louise’s personal journey is a poignant exploration of love, loss, and acceptance.

Armed with the knowledge of her daughter’s future and the inevitable heartbreak it entails, she still chooses to embrace the joys of motherhood.

It’s a testament to the human capacity to cherish life’s fleeting moments, even in the face of inevitable sorrow.

The Need for Global Unity

In the face of an extraterrestrial visit, the initial global panic and disjointed responses underscore the challenges of international collaboration.

However, as the narrative unfolds, the film underscores the potential for global unity when humanity sets aside differences and works towards a common understanding.

The Beauty of the Unknown

Arrival celebrates the mysteries of the universe. Whether it’s deciphering the intentions of an alien species or navigating the complexities of human emotions, the film encourages viewers to embrace uncertainty and find beauty in the journey of discovery.

Arrival is a cinematic tapestry woven with intricate themes of language, time, and human connection. It prompts viewers to reflect on their place in the vast cosmos and challenges them to truly listen, understand, and cherish the moments that define the human experience.

As the credits roll, one is left with a profound sense of wonder and a renewed appreciation for the delicate balance of life’s joys and sorrows.

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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