Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Great, deeply thoughtful, compassionate sci-fi tale.

Movie PG-13 2016 116 minutes
Arrival Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 30 parent reviews

age 11+

Whoa! Communication front and center!

Well shot, well acted, and sloooooow to burn, if you allow yourself, this film will envelop you, hold on to you and you will be content in its grasp. A complex narrative that has a lot of room to breathe in this low key film. Adams is convincing and the manipulation of time is genius. The aliens drew me in and I cared about their well-being. A wonderful film that centers the complexities of language lovingly and without judgement.
age 11+

Stunning Beautiful Powerful

So powerful and beautiful . It pulls you in with its moments of awe and surprise. Be aware there is one use of the "f" word at a moment of shock.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (30 ):
Kids say (66 ):

This deeply thoughtful, profoundly compassionate sci-fi movie beautifully mixes realism with a sense of wonder. It keeps its mysteries at bay, and, amazingly, doesn't disappoint when all is revealed. French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario) is becoming one of the best, smartest cinematic storytellers in the world, finding new ways to pull the camera back and observe, taking a little extra time to find emotions, and explore spaces and sounds (a chirping bird is especially poignant). The cinematography by Bradford Young (Selma) is breathtakingly mesmerizing, still and patient, without relying on action or adrenaline.

The long build-up to the meeting of the aliens in Arrival is as wondrous and breathless as anything the movies have conjured up recently. Most films that begin with mysteries eventually give up everything, and invariably too soon, resulting in an anticlimax. But, as written by Eric Heisserer (Lights Out), and based on a short story by Ted Chiang, the puzzles and the thought-provoking solutions in Arrival only enrich the movie's transcendent quality; we're left with satisfying answers, but also fantastic questions.

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