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Arrival | 2016 | PG-13 | - 1.3.5

UFOs land in 12 nations around the world and the US Army uses a linguist to attempt to decipher the language of the seven-legged alien visitors. As governments of the remaining nations cut communications with America, the linguist and a scientist (Jeremy Renner) study the alien language to prevent global destruction, and encounter a unique perspective regarding time. Also with Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O'Brien and Tzi Ma. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. English subtitles accompany several lines of alien symbols, a few phrases are spoken in Russian and Chinese without translations. [1:57]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A man and a woman embrace for several seconds; during the embrace, a flash forward shows the man asking the woman, both clothed and standing, "You want to make a baby?" and she says, "Yes." A flash forward scene shows a man and a woman holding a baby.
 The top outline of a woman's sports bra and slight cleavage show through her opaque blouse.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - In a laptop recording we hear Russians as they fire rifles, executing a woman speaking online (she just stops talking); a man listening says the Russians killed a woman expert to keep their intelligence on aliens a secret.
 Two aliens are shaped like bony seven-legged squid; the ends of their legs can spread into seven-fingered hands that resemble starfish, inky smoke emanates from the fingers to create circular symbols of their language and their spoken language consists of growls, hoots, and low-pitched musical notes that sound like a bass violin and a tuba, and the first time they appear at a viewing window we hear rumbling and low-pitched sounds off-screen before we see them.
 A man and a woman in an airlock type tunnel show two aliens standing behind a glass portal a set of circular symbols and one alien raps on the glass several times with a large knuckle; when the woman approaches the aliens unleash their entire language structure onto the window in smoky circles of various sizes as rapid gunfire from several rifles sounds and a bomb explodes into some smoke and fireballs that fill the screen, and people are thrown back; when the smoke clears we see a man and a woman floating in a tunnel with some pieces of equipment and the camera cuts to a clinic table, where the woman awakens with a scratched face and a doctor tells her she has a concussion (she grimaces and we hear that the man was not hurt in the blast). A UFO rises several yards above ground and sends a pod down to retrieve a woman who visits; inside the pod, she is engulfed with white mist, coughs, and is lifted into the inside of the alien ship, which is full of white mist over a white floor made of sharp points and an alien creates smoky symbols that she places her hands in to understand their language. A woman sneaks through an army camp and takes a man's phone; three soldiers with assault rifles and a man with a handgun point the weapons at the woman as she locks herself into a room behind a glass door, the soldiers yell at her to come out and she does after completing a phone call and the soldiers release her.
 Several men and a woman wearing hazmat suits over helmets ascend on a mechanical lift to the bottom of a UFO hovering over a field; a door slides open to reveal a tunnel leading to a rectangular glass and the woman hyperventilates and hesitates to move until a man grabs her and takes her into the tunnel, where the whole party is able to walk up a wall (we see the people briefly upside down as they walk). A large US Army helicopter buzzes a woman's house at night and lands in the yard; she goes outside and an officer takes her to an army encampment near a UFO that is hovering over a field. UFOs hovering vertically over 12 nations turn horizontally and one of them breaks power lines, resulting in several sparks; an army camp shudders with tremors as if in an earthquake as a wailing siren sounds and each ship is engulfed in white mist. A college campus evacuates and a car backs into another car in the parking lot as we hear and see the impact and creaking metal.
 We hear a TV broadcast that the Chinese have declared war on the aliens and the Russians join the Chinese forces. Newscasts report that China and Russia are mobilizing ships and armies in preparation for war with aliens; one broadcast shows people looting a store and another program shows people running through streets as gunfire sounds off-screen. A news broadcast states that a Pentecostal cult burned down their church because it's the End Times, but we do not see the fire. TV broadcasters announce UFOs in 12 countries. A woman argues with a man in an army camp. A young girl yells into the camera, "I hate you." A soldier holding a telephone receiver listens as we hear his wife shout, cry, and rant on the other end of the line. A doctor tells a woman and a man that he will draw their blood and give them inoculations to fight several types of bacterial infections they may encounter (he warns them of possible side effects that include nausea and tinnitus, but we do not see the medical procedures or side effects). A doctor says that he will administer a booster injection for bacterial exposure, but we do not see it. In a visit with aliens, a woman removes her hazmat suit and helmet, while two men shout at her to stop; one of the men then removes his hazmat gear (neither person is harmed).
 Three flashbacks show an unconscious girl at about age 11 in a bed, wearing an oxygen clip in her nose and another flashback briefly shows the woman crying over the dead body of the 11-year-old girl in the bed. In a flashback, a woman tells her now dead daughter at about age 8 that Daddy left them because he was mad at the mother for seeing the future and not being a scientist. A woman has several flash forwards of a baby boy and a man as the father of the baby. A woman has a brief vision of an alien standing beside her bed. A woman awakens startled from a dream about her dead daughter.
 After a visit to an alien ship, a man vomits in a large trash can and we hear retching and gagging (we see no vomit). A woman's hands tremble strongly before a visit to an alien ship. A woman is shaky and sweaty when she has flashbacks of her young daughter who is now dead. We see blood run from a narrow tube in a woman's arm into a vial, but we see no needles.


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LANGUAGE 5 - At least 1 F-word, 3 mild obscenities, 1 religious exclamation (Oh My God).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A woman sips wine in her home, two glasses of wine and a full bottle of wine are seen on a patio table in the background of a scene, a woman drinks from a glass of wine and pours more from a bottle on a table, and a woman sips wine in a long shot and again in a close-up.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Languages, language and the mind, communication, misunderstandings, fear, xenophobia, isolationism, reactionary responses, war, death, loss, grief, the nature of time, nonlinear concepts, relationships, cooperation, respect, understanding, compromise, trust, risk-taking, courage, determination.

MESSAGE - Effective communication can prevent war and lead to amazing gifts.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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