Friday, May 6, 2011

My Favorite Movies: Contact


"Who are we going to call now?"

Most people I know, even fellow sci-fi lovers, don't understand why I love Contact. They find it slow and boring, and the ending unsatisfying (even Mr. Garrison from South Park weighed in on that :P). But if you don't mind a thinky movie and don't need to be entertained by an explosion every 30 seconds, I recommend giving Contact a chance.

Jodie Foster plays Dr. Ellie Arroway, a brilliant physicist who works for SETI. After years of battling for funding and dish time, she is the first recipient of a message from space. She helps the government decode the message and is involved in the building of a mysterious space vehicle (assembly instructions were embedded in the message). While all that unfolds, Ellie has a complicated friendationship with a priest, Palmer Joss, played by Matthew McConaughey. (This and A Time To Kill are the ONLY movies in which I can take McConaughey seriously.) Their relationship serves as the movie's main vehicle for respectful discussions of faith vs. science. I feel that faith and science are equally represented and supported by the end of the film, leaving you to draw your own conclusions. I like that.

Ellie's loss of her father to a heart attack at a young age also plays a big role in the plot. Jena Malone plays young Ellie, and I still consider her performance one of the best child acting jobs I've ever seen.

I don't want to say more because the story has many twists and turns. This is an alien movie, but the aliens are mainly a catalyst for the real story - their active role is very small. I read on the Wikipedia page that one of the producers' goals was to make the story seem very real, like what would actually happen if a message from space were discovered. They incorporated real news footage, used real media personalities, and filmed at real observatories and at NASA. Although it's a little dated now, since this movie came out in 1997 (gosh I'm getting old), it still feels very real to me.

I'm ashamed to admit this, but it took me a lot of viewings to realize that Ellie's research partner/best friend, Kent, is blind. Some of his lines are kind of mumbled, and I thought he was just squinty or something. LOL!!

Now I want to watch this again! :)


  1. I haven't seen this in quite awhile, but I agree it's a good one. But I remember a hilarious post-movie conversation I had with my brother-in-law (R's husband), so I can't help but connect the two and laugh when I think about the movie. :P

    Also, I guess I'm supposed to relate more to Palmer Joss, due to the whole faith thing, but I don't really care for him. :/ That bothers me, for whatever reason.

    Still, now you have me wanting to watch the movie again!

  2. No, I have some issues with PJ and his behavior too! I just choose to overlook them, usually. :)

  3. Is this the same movie where she is going on a trip to outer space and towards the end she has to testify before Congress or something and she describes in very vivid detail what the sun looked like, and how the trip had to be real?

  4. Love this movie! Enjoying the movie posts.

  5. I love this movie! Definitely one of my favourites as well.

  6. I really really love this movie! Usually I'm irritated by unsatisfying endings, but it totally works for this movie.