Arrival ★★★★★

Two stars for each use of “On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter, and one star for the directing, acting, writing, cinematography, sound design, visual effects, and editing.

Arrival is one of the most pivotal films in my movie-watching history. It was one of the most brilliant and mind-melting things I had ever seen in a theater, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after I first saw it, especially the shocking and emotionally powerful ending.

Rewatching the film was just as memorable in a different way. In the second viewing, every jigsaw piece finally connects together, and the big picture is a beautiful site to behold.

Admittedly, each subsequent rewatch doesn’t have the same impact. You’re now watching the movie from the outside instead of the inside. You can still appreciate every detail, but still feel left out. Like the film portrays, the progression of time is bittersweet, but necessary and inevitable.

No matter what, this is still an intelligent and breathtaking work of science fiction that perfectly rides the wave between contemporary and arthouse. It deserves the five stars despite its small setbacks.