Stories of our Lives



When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team--lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams)--are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers--and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.

Read review from The Guardian

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Questions for Discussion

  1. Were you drawn in or alienated by anything in particular in the film? Is there a scene or some dialogue that struck you?

  2. Life on earth seemed to stop when the arrival happened. How did you respond to the liminal atmosphere of the movie?

  3. Discuss the movie’s play on time. How did its use of time change how you viewed the movie? Do we think too linearly about time in our own lives?

  4. What is your take on the meaning of the title? Are there various meanings?

  5. Why was Louise’s phone call with the Chinese leader so pivotal?

  6. Does the movie have something to say about the problems of international relations today?

  7. Physicist Stephen Hawking is hoping we don’t encounter aliens because in his opinion they will invariably destroy humanity. Why do we think (or fear) that beings of higher consciousness are innately malicious?

  8. What biblical story mirrors the story or characters in ‘Arrival’ in some way?

  9. Respond to this quote from an astute
    IMDB reviewer:

    “Actually what you get is a film that approaches the grandeur of ‘Close Encounters’ but interlaces it with the intellectual depth of ‘Inception’, the mystery of ‘Interstellar’ and a heavy emotional jolt or two of ‘Up’. On the surface it’s a sci-fi alien movie, but really, that’s just the delivery message for a very serious, intelligent and poignant movie about communication. Of course, a movie about communication can help us communicate with each other better, but where I think it really shines is as a metaphor for our communication with God.”

  10. Perhaps the movie is really not about alien encounters but about our choices about whether to love our life and those around us knowing that we will suffer greatly with inevitable decline and death. What do you choose? Love or fear?
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