Movie Reviews

Mini-Review – “Contact” (1997)


This is a strange movie to look at, because the main focus point is on two subjects that I despise talking about, religion and politics. Throw science into the mix and you have a recipe for a film that is bound to make everyone unhappy, no matter what they might believe in.

Yet “Contact” walks the fine line between science, politics and faith and seems to find a meeting ground that all three try so very hard to agree upon – the search for the truth.

In this film, Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) is a radio astronomer, who is an atheist, and ends up locating an alien transmission from the star system of Vega. Ellie uses logic and reasoning throughout the process, even as the rest of the world has different interpretations after the news breaks. Palmer Joss (Matthew McConaughey) is a former priest who writes about science and religion, and constantly opposes Ellie for her lack of religious beliefs in the face of something so overwhelming. There are also several key political characters throughout the film that are cautious about every step taken, for the sake of security, for both America and the world.

What we get is a realistic interpretation to the world reacting to the news that we are not alone in the universe. Some are thrilled and want to help, while others are devastated that God would have created other life in the universe besides us. Others see the aliens as our saviors and even our new gods.

But one point is made clear throughout the film – No one has the right answers. Perhaps that is to the films strength and enforces the point that the world is what you make of it.

“Contact” is a fascinating piece that discusses many issues that are still relevant today, especially issues that Hollywood does not like to talk about. The strange thing is that it finds a way to make everyone happy. Whether you believe in logic and science or faith and God, there is something to be admired in “Contact” and is certainly worth checking out.

Final Grade: A

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