Random Thoughts about Arrival


Disclaimer: I’m not trying to be mean or judge someone’s work, just sharing my thoughts about it.

I am soooooooooo confused.

I am confused if I like the movie, or not.

I am still confused about what has just happened, who is who in the movie, and when what happened.

I had some prejudice and expectations about this movie. My professors recommended it cuz it has something to do with linguistics and language learning. My friends, on the other hand, didn’t like it because drama part messed up sci-fi idea.


First of all, be prepared, it’s not an action movie, at least not until the last 10 minutes. There’s a lot of lengthy pauses filled with wind, or Louise’s panting (which at some point was annoying). You could have used those pauses to collect and digest the facts you learned, but at the very beginning you don’t really have much information about anything.


Flashbacks (and that’s the part  I’m confused if those are flashbacks or not) in the beginning seem to distract you all the time from the big event, aliens on the Earth. But as we move through the plot, those echo with the story, e.g. how she teaches aliens and memories how she explains her daughter some words.


Well, I definitely want to mention the linguistic part. For me, as a linguist and language teacher, that was probably the most interesting part. I know that is the movie, and all that, but I was impressed how she came up with the idea with visualization to find common understanding. I think it’s also worth mentioning that she wasn’t teaching and imposing English on them but rather used English to find common language with them.


Here’s some nerdy questions I still have:

  • so they understood English but with the help of actually written words they were able to interpret it, or what?
  • when she was ‘teaching’ them as part of their mission, she always wrote and repeated, later when she figured aliens’ language, she used software to draw messages in their language, but when they took her to their ship she just talked to them, and they wrote back. So the question is: did she succeed in teach English to them so fast or did they understand English all the way along?


They mentioned Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, I just added it to my reading list. Am I going to read academic stuff for pleasure? 🤓🤔


And again, I am still confused who her husband was, or Ian was her husband all along, or her personal life ‘flashback’ story was actually their future? I am honestly super confused about that but regardless when those flashbacks happened, I feel that her personal story was important to wrap up the whole plot and also to show how her mind and perception of the time has changed as she learned alien’s language. (Remember they perceive the time in absolutely different way, and they can see the future).

How do you like Arrival? I’d love to read your thoughts about it in the comment section down below.



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