A few weeks ago, I saw the movie Arrival. There are no spoilers in this post but I wanted to write some of my thoughts after seeing what might be my favorite movie ever, or at least in my top 5.

If you have kids, this movie will crush you. The main story is of course about making contact with the aliens who have arrived, but the secondary story weaved throughout the movie is about family and the strong relationships that bond us in unique ways.

The story itself takes on a different perspective from most alien contact movies I’ve seen. This is not your typical “Independence Day” war movie, but a movie about communication. It goes so much deeper than simply asking, “Are they here to help or harm us?” In watching everyone’s efforts to communicate and understand each other, you can’t help but feel hopeful that there are people who care enough to find common ground even in the most difficult circumstances.

I always look for parallel lessons in science fiction movies. What I mean is, I think about what we can take from the movie that we can also apply to our everyday lives. In the end, the movie gets you thinking about people you don’t understand because you can’t relate to them for whatever reason. Maybe it’s a language barrier, cultural differences, or something else.

Ultimately, we need to find ways to have empathy with those who have different ways of life from us if we are going to thrive as a species in the future. That’s what this movie was about for me, and it did an incredible job telling that story.