Flash Stabone’s review published on Letterboxd:
My 300th Letterbox review!!!!!
An incredible achievement in film making.
Spielberg's followup to Jaws proved he was no flash in the pan. His work here is magnificent. It's a unique film that stands out in his filmography. What I enjoy most about this film is that it treats all it's scenarios with respect and the result in doing so gives us a realistic view into the subject of contact from beings not of this planet.
There is nothing silly here. Nothing to make you roll your eyes and say 'That wouldn't happen.' It doesn't feel like a movie-it feels as if you are seeing the events unfold in reality without being able to interfere.
The film spends the perfect amount of time with it's two story lines. On one hand you have the investigation of strange events all over the world by François Truffaut which leads to the discovery of the Tones and possible communication with the visitors. It's all done so well-each scene has that mysterious vibe that has you asking the same questions as the characters. How did these objects get here? Why do they all seem brand new despite being missing for decades? You're left asking 'What is going on?' but not because you're confused but because you're curious.
The other side of the film is the amazing portrait of Richard Dreyfuss' character and his dealing with his experience of witnessing the ships flying silently in the Indiana sky. He becomes obsessed with his encounter but not in a bad way. He believes the experience to be important-life changing-world changing-his life has changed the instant he sees the ship-THAT'S REAL! I wouldn't care if I was fired from my job either after seeing something like that. I'd want to search for the answers as well. Dreyfuss and Garr are remarkable in their scenes together. And their kids are so genuine. Every scene in that house again feels like I crept up to their window and peeked into their lives.
The finale of the film contains everything that makes Spielberg one of the greatest to have ever yelled out 'Action!' He has the entire audience in a silent stare of discovery. It has the same impact on me as seeing the T-Rex for the first time. I AM BLOWN AWAY.
This was Spielberg's first nomination for Best Director and he more than deserved it. This is a classic film that doesn't release you from it's powerful grip for a single second. Films like this one remind you why you even go to the movies in the first place.