Friday Night Film Series Presents: “Arrival”

As part of Living Writers Friday Night Film Series, “Arrival,” the American Science Fiction drama directed by Denis Villeneuve was screened in Golden Auditorium in Little Hall on Friday, Sept. 24. Staff, students, and guests gathered in the auditorium to follow the story of linguist Louise Banks, played by actor Amy Adams, whose narrative begins when twelve alien spaceships simultaneously arrive in twelve locations around the world and Louise, as a talented linguist and professor, is unexpectedly drafted by the U.S. Army to communicate with these alien life forms.

Louise is followed as she attempts to communicate with the extraterrestrials, referred to as “heptapods,” through a glass wall in the landed spaceship in Montana. Working with Physicist Ian Donnely, played by Jeremy Renner, viewers watch her process of developing an understanding of the heptapods’ communication to determine the intentions of their visit on Earth. Simultaneously, geopolitical tensions rise as the affected nations begin to become increasingly agitated, suggesting the possibility of war, both outwardly against the aliens and on the global stage. 

Further, the movie raised interesting questions about the nature of time, as Louise and Ian begin to realize that the heptapods’ perception of time is drastically different from our own. 

First-year, Samanta Kost, explained, “Honestly I had no idea what I was expecting when I came in but I loved it. I was intrigued by their manipulation of time and their take on aliens. I have never seen it before in a movie and I wish I knew more movies like it.”

Bank’s exploration into the paradigm of time as non-linear challenges viewers’ perceptions of consciousness, and sparks conversations about how moral decisions can change as conceptions of time change. This creates an interesting thought exercise for the viewer.  

Sophomore, Natalie Hatton, remarked: “I saw the movie in theaters when it first came out but had completely forgotten it until I went to this showing. This movie is a must-see even if you aren’t really a sci-fi fan. My friend and I spent hours talking about it afterward – really cool stuff.” 

First-year student, Max Gardinier, shared a similar sentiment: “I’ve seen ‘Arrival’ a couple of times and it’s one of my favorite movies. I was super excited to see they were playing it as part of the film series! It’s so unique and it’s such a good story, I love the ending and the emphasis on the concepts of time and language, there’s really nothing else like it.”

“Arrival” was well received by critics as well, winning the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay amongst other accolades. The film was based on Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life,” his award-winning science fiction novella from 1998, and the screening was co-sponsored by Living Writers. Upcoming events and screenings can be found on the Colgate Film and Media Studies website, including the welcoming of Ted Chiang himself to speak in Golden Auditorium in Little Hall on Thursday, Sept. 20th at 4:30.