The ending of Denis Villeneuve’s alien drama is still one of the best in sci-fi history. What Is ‘Arrival’ About? Before understanding how Arrival ends, we must first explore how the film begins. Ironically, the movie starts at the end in a way.
One of the first things we see is the brief mother-daughter relationship between Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and her daughter Hannah at ages 6 (Jadyn Malone), 8 (Abigail Pniowsky) and 12 (Julia Scarlett Dan). In what feels like a more macabre mirror-version to the infamously sad opening of Pixar’s Up, we see Louise and Hannah live an ordinary, happy life as a family before tragedy strikes. At age twelve, Hannah passes away from a terminal illness, leaving Louise as a distraught and grieving mother.
The next thing we see is Louise about to teach a lecture for her linguistics class, all to a relatively empty audience of students. The lecture is cut short by some astounding news — unidentified spacecraft have landed all around Earth. Later, Louise is contacted by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) of the United States military.
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