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‘Arrival’ Critical Roundup: Reviews Say Amy Adams is Out Of This World in Sci-Fi Drama

Denis Villeneuve’s thriller had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.



Paramount Pictures

Denis Villeneuve’s highly-anticipated sci-fi thriller “Arrival” made its grand debut at the Venice Film Festival. Starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, the drama is set in the aftermath of an alien invasion after the government brings in an esteemed linguist, Louise Banks (Adams), to attempt to decipher their language and figure out their intent on Earth. The potential Oscar contender has generated much buzz and has so far received positive feedback from critics.

IndieWire’s Ben Croll wrote in his review that Adams definitely steals the spotlight in the film:

“‘Arrival’ is no two-hander; it is Adams’ film through and through. The actress makes a very strong lead, embodying the kind of swashbuckling language pedant whose eyes light with adventure when offered a particularly challenging conjugation.”

READ MORE: ’Arrival’ Review: Amy Adams Steals Spotlight In Denis Villeneuve’s Deep-Thinking Alien Invasion Story

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman praised the actress for her performance:

“Adams draws on her gift for making each and every moment quiver with discovery. The actress is alive to what’s around her, even when it’s just ordinary, and when it’s extraordinary the inner fervor she communicates is quietly transporting.” He also added that “Arrival” has “an eerie grandeur, but if the film starts off as neo-Spielberg, it winds up as neo-Christopher Nolan meets neo-Terrence Malick — it turns into an ersatz mind-bender.”

Added David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter:

“Just what we need in these fractured times — a smart parable about open-mindedness and unification. Anchored by an internalized performance from Amy Adams rich in emotional depth, this is a grownup sci-fi drama that sustains fear and tension while striking affecting chords on love and loss.”

READ MORE: ‘Arrival’ Clips: Amy Adams Prepares to Make First Alien Contact After Invasion

Alonso Duralde of The Wrap called the film:

“a fairly chilly, cerebral bit of business, from its beautifully tamped-down cinematography (by modern master Bradford Young) to Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ethereal score.” He does add that he thinks the film “falls short” in its third act which “attempts to appeal to the heart as much as to the head. Louise’s personal story is a powerful one, and the film never betrays this fascinating character, but it has so successfully created such a cool and detached vibe that it’s a bit jarring to get a last-minute play for the emotions.”

Noted The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin.

“It turns an already beautiful, provocative allegory into the kind of science-fiction that can bump your whole worldview off balance. This is riveting, dizzying stuff from Villeneuve, and another early peak in a thunderously exciting year at the Venice Film Festival.”

Jessica Kiang of The Playlist gave the film an A- and wrote that Adams has an “exceptional performance” and that her character is brought to life with great sensitivity.

“A great deal of the credit must go to the remarkable short story on which Eric Heisserer’s restrained script is based (The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang),” she stated. “But it’s Villeneuve’s dedicated intelligence that brings it off the page and onto the screen with an apparent simplicity that connotes a refreshing faith not just in the material, but in the audience.”

READ MORE: ‘Arrival’ Official Trailer: Amy Adams and Denis Villeneuve Make Alien Contact In Ambitious Sci-Fi Drama

“Arrival” will be released in theaters on November 11.

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