Contact Movie Poster Image


Thoughtful adaptation of the Carl Sagan novel.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1997
  • Running Time: 150 minutes

What parents need to know


Character killed. Some tense moments.




Some strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is one episode of sabotage that results in violence, in addition to the one-night-stand (Ellie and Palmer shown in bed together), and some strong language.

What's the story?

Devastated by the loss of her parents at the tender age of eight, Ellie (Jodie Foster) yearns for contact with extraterrestrials, but shies away from contact with anyone on earth. Having been hurt by feeling, she relies entirely on science, on what can be proven. After a one-night-stand with Palmer Joss (Matthew McConaughey), a charismatic divinity school drop-out, she leaves, to continue to listen for whispers from the universe, despite short-sighted bureaucrats who cut her funding. When she finally hears something, the government steps in. The message is to build a machine, apparently to be used to go to the source of the message. Joss turns up as an advisor to the President who is assigned to the panel that will select the person who will make the trip. He does not believe that Earth should be represented by an atheist. And he does not want to lose Ellie again. Ultimately, she does make the trip, and finds that she is profoundly changed by it. She finds herself asking others to believe what she says without evidence, on the basis of faith.

Is it any good?


Based on the late Carl Sagan's novel about a young scientist's efforts to make contact with intelligent life beyond our world, CONTACT is a thoughtful movie. It also provides a good opportunity to discuss how we know what we know, whether on the basis of faith or on what we can prove.

Sagan, a scientist who consulted on the space program and hosted public television programs about the universe, raised important questions about the connection (and sometimes obstacles) between science, business, politics, and notions of God. If he does a better job of asking them than answering them, that is at least consistent with the scientists creed that the only sin is to be afraid to ask the right questions -- and to be open-minded about the answers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether the reactions of the people in the movie to evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence are what they would expect. Why do some people object so strongly to communicating with creatures outside our world? What do scientists think about God and what do theologians think of science? What is the role of government? What do they think of the way the extraterrestrials shaped their communications to reassure Ellie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 11, 1997
DVD/Streaming release date:December 30, 1997
Cast:Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt
Director:Robert Zemeckis
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Book characters, Space and aliens
Run time:150 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some intense action, mild language and a scene of sensuality

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Adult Written byPaddlehead February 1, 2010

Not appropriate for tweens and young teens

This movie celebrates inquiry -being curious about our world,, and following one's dream/beliefs/vision in spite of strongly opposing views and opinions to them. There is a casual sex scene (flash of breast) between the "man of faith" and the "scientist", which is inconsistent with messages I'd like my tween to have about sex. Unfortunately, info is revealled during the bed scene which is important to the plot later skipping it would compromise understanding. Plenty of foul language. Also, Christians are portrayed as being on the "right" or extreme, which is a biased and atypical representation of Christians.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul 2.0;... April 9, 2008

Excellent film

Although things seem to go wrong most of the time for the main character, it is all redeemed with the ending, which was fantastic. There really isn't any objectionable content in the movie either, except for a tame lying-in-the-same-bed-naked scene; but like I said, it's non-explicit.
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Bad SciFi

I love SciFi and this one is worth missing. 90% build up to a 10% blaa