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Arrival's beautiful humanity 

Amy Adams for president

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If you needed a person to save the world through words, of course you’re going to send someone like Amy Adams, whose particular brand of steely warmth—she is kind and empathetic but you should not mistake her for a pushover—has carried her from a bit part on The Office to the top of the movie star heap, and deservedly so. In Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, she plays a linguist who is called upon by the US government to communicate with the squid-like aliens who have landed on earth. There’s no obvious pattern to their landing sites, scattered across the globe, but they have neither emerged nor attacked—yet. It’s up to Adams, now part of a military team led by Forest Whitaker, connected to other military operations worldwide (you can imagine how that goes), to devise a language to decipher what the aliens want. It’s a genre mash-up that shouldn’t work, especially when time travel begins factoring in, but as with the best sci-fi, it’s ultimately a story about the beauty of humanity, and we need to believe in that this week.

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Vol 27, No 16
September 12, 2019

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