Gilbert Speaks on “Arrival”

6 Mar


If you haven’t seen the Denis Villeneuve film, Arrival, I suggest you do so as soon as possible. Although, the film is about communicating with alien life, the true story is about the time/space continuum and how we as humans communicate with others. Do we listen to the actual words that are spoken, or do we only listen to what we think was said? How can we expect to communicate with alien lifeforms if we can’t even talk among ourselves? Meet me after the jump to learn more.


Arrival, which stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, is a story about an alien species that arrives from an unknown planet and causes the human race to call in their best minds to determine if this visit is a cause for celebration or terror. The aliens aren’t communicating in a way that is easily understood by the people of Earth. This is a big deterrent to understanding what the aliens actually want. The flaw in human development is that we tend to want to blow up anything we can’t understand. Luckily in this film, cooler minds prevail and a linguistics expert is brought in.

arrival 4

Louise (Amy Adams) has to translate what the squid-like aliens are trying to say, but first she must get over her fear of the unknown. When Louise, along with Ian (Jeremy Renner) a fellow scientist first enter the ship, they are confused by the lack of gravity inside, and that’s just the start. The aliens themselves are safely protected behind some sort of glass wall, but the sight of them, or what we can see through the haze, is disorienting. They are nothing like the humanoid creatures we’d expect in a sci-fi movie. What is their world like? Where do they come from? Why are they here?

These are all great questions if one knows how to talk to them. But, how does one go through the mapping out the Rosetta stone of “alien speak” is where Louise shows that gaining the trust of the Heptapods is the first order of business.

The Visitors

The Heptapods are beautiful to look at in a metaphysical way. Their appendages are a bit unsettling at first, but as they work with Louise and Ian over the days, they become less alien and more like good friends. Given the names Abbott and Costello, the Heptapods use an inky blast from their appendage to write meanings on the glass wall.


The language is shown in circular form as compared to Louise’s use of written word with markers and whiteboard. And, it is this method of communication by the aliens that is the most revealing part of the film. Yes, there is a very good reason as to why they are there and, it all ties in to the visions that Louise is experiencing.


What is time? Do other lifeforms experience time the way we do? Why are those twelve spaceships here? Why are they shaped like giant contact lenses? The Heptapods experience live and time through a circular existence as compared to what humans experience: linear. The past, present and future are readily available to them.


Humans, on the other hand, only understand what they can see. We ignore the teachings of our own past while trampling over the lessons of today because we are in such a frazzle about the future. This thinking makes us act irrationally. This film, and you will understand where I’m coming from once you watch it, makes me think of the whales and dolphins of the ocean. They also speak a language. It is a beautiful, intelligent and exact language. Instead of communicating and protecting these lifeforms, we hunt them into extinction.


Arrival is a film that is perfect for what is happening across the globe right now. We scream at each other instead of listening. We want to drop bombs, when a conversation and a joining of minds works better for all. Louise is able to save the day because she was given the gift of sight. The Heptapods allowed her to see the future…and a friendship was struck between two worlds.

Now…if only we could do this on our planet.

Please watch the film. I give it an A+


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