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Movie "Arrival" - spoilers and question


klmama
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We are having a debate about the ending of the movie "Arrival" with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. If you have seen it and care to share your opinion, please scroll down to read my question. If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to pass on this post and see the movie, instead.  We all liked it, which is rare for movies around here.  Question below....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are debating what happens at the end of the movie.  I've read the Wikipedia entry, which backs up one position being debated, but the question remains.  Scroll down for question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does the picture framed on the wall indicate that the little girl draws it while they are still together, meaning that Louise doesn't tell Ian about what is going to happen and he stays?  Or is it just another glimpse into the future, with no change of events?  Also, when he asks about making a baby, is the reference only to Hannah, or does the framed picture indicate that they already have her and he wants a 2nd child, too?  

 

 

 

 

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I thought Hannah drew the picture after they split and the picture was about the time they worked together since she also drew the canary.

 

The picture framed on the wall... I'm not sure I have that figured out. The camera didn't pan over to the picture on the wall in any particular vision. It was just there. Like it was its own vision. So it could have been on the wall at any point. Like it was supposed to confuse the audience's timeline. Maybe I'm remembering it wrong.

 

Dh and I liked the movie, too. Also rare in this family. We are notorious for poking holes in plots. ;)

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I've seen the movie and read the short story so I want to make sure I am remembering each one correctly...

 

If I'm recalling the movie correctly, I believe she did not tell Ian what she knows about her daughter's future.   It is not in reference to a second child.

 

BTW, if you haven't read the short story, oh, do so. It's so good.  The rest of the short stories in the collection are awesome as well.

 

ETA- I read the story before I saw the movie so it is possible I took that knowledge into the movie with me and interpreted things from that perspective.

Edited by Tammi K
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I've seen the movie and read the short story so I want to make sure I am remembering each one correctly...

 

If I'm recalling the movie correctly, I believe she did not tell Ian what she knows about her daughter's future. It is not in reference to a second child.

 

BTW, if you haven't read the short story, oh, do so. It's so good. The rest of the short stories in the collection are awesome as well.

 

ETA- I read the story before I saw the movie so it is possible I took that knowledge into the movie with me and interpreted things from that perspective.

Ok, so you all are saying that since she framed the picture, that indicates she didn't tell him? Or am I missing something else?

 

I'm going to have run this by dh and see what he thinks. Lol :laugh:

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I liked the movie but some of it bothered me:

 

Didn't Ian learn the language so he also could see the future?  I seem to remember there was something in the movie implying Louise wasn't the only one to learn it, didn't she write a book?  

 

I definitely remember that she knew he would leave if she told him Hannah would die.  I remember wondering why didn't she tell him? Did she think he wouldn't want to have a child if he knew?  Did it mean he would leave earlier or not get together in the first place?  

 

 

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I saw it so many months ago that I don't remember all the details.  I don't remember the picture on the wall, but I clearly remember that she did NOT tell Ian that their child died, and that's why he stayed.  She felt it was worth it to love and lose, but he would not have chosen to love and lose.  If he'd have known, he'd have left and never had a child in the first place.  She chose to have the child and love the child, even knowing the pain she would endure when the child died. The loss was worth the love to her. 

 

Gosh, it makes me get teary-eyed typing it out.

Edited by Garga
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I agree. I generally don't like short stories but I really liked that book.

 

Stories of Your Life and Others.

 

Rabbit trail.....what were your favorites?   I loved 72 Letters and Division by Zero. 

And, of course, Story of Your Life.   

 

I think this is one time where a movie did great justice the original intent of the story while still being a cinematic creation in its own right.

 

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Okay. Work with me here. I'm really trying to understand. :)

 

Here's how I saw it. When Louise was playing with very young Hannah with "tickle guns", she had a wedding ring on.

 

Then when Hannah is school age and shows Louise the picture of her parents together, Louise says "its ok to be sad that your dad and aren't..." and Hannah says basically, 'I'm not sad. Its just a picture.' (to me it sounded like they recently split up.)

 

Finally, Louise has a conversation with Hannah (again, school-age) while they are by the lake and Hannah says her dad doesn't look at her the same. Louise says, 'that's my fault. I told him something he wasn't ready to hear. He thinks I should've made a different choice.' To me indicating that she told him what was going to happen to Hannah around that time and he left her.

 

When Hannah is a teenager and asks her mom about non-zero-sum game, Louise acts a little defensive telling her to call her dad the scientist but then changes her tone and kindly tells her the answer. Seemed like they were divorced there.

 

In Hannah's diagnosis, treatment, and death scenes Louise is alone. Wouldn't Ian have been with her if she didn't tell him and they were still together?

 

So where does the movie explicitly say she DIDN'T tell him? She didn't tell him when she asked if he would change anything about his future if he knew what would happen. She didn't tell him when he asked her to have a baby. But again, to me it seemed like she waited until Hannah was older to tell him.

 

I thought the whole point of the movie was that life and love are about moments of time. Memories. Not about the destination. So Louise chose NOT to change anything and let it all happen. Hannah, telling Ian, him leaving, and Hannah's death.

 

Guys, this is driving me crazy!! What am I missing?? Is it something in the story not in the movie? Help! :)

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Guys, this is driving me crazy!! What am I missing?? Is it something in the story not in the movie? Help! :)

 

The story does it...........differently.

 

There are some things the movies does very well.  I really found the movie compelling. BUT, the story just has far more nuance.  

 

I read the story first so my understanding of the movie came with the story already in my brain. So, I probably have a different take on the film that someone who didn't read the story. 

 

The focus of the book is different, I guess would be the best way to explain it.

 

Edited by Tammi K
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Interesting article about the guy who developed the screenplay, complete with quoted discussion about how he deviated some from the story in regards to the ending:   https://taylorholmes.com/2016/11/12/movie-arrival-explained-interview-eric-heisserer/

 

I saw the movie first, then read the story.  The story stuck with me more -- I'm glad I saw the movie because it inspired me to read this author.

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Guys, this is driving me crazy!! What am I missing?? Is it something in the story not in the movie? Help! :)

 

OP here.  Thanks for all of your comments.  Sorry to confuse you, MrsRobinson; I don't think you missed anything!

 

When we watched it, we thought that because the vision of the drawing is shown in the midst of the visions including Ian, maybe Louise decides NOT to ever tell him she had already known Hannah would die even before she was conceived so he wouldn't leave her.  After watching it again, I don't think that's the case.  I think the future plays out just like Louise sees it, and she doesn't make any changes - at some point, she still tells him that she knew before Hannah's conception, and he leaves her.  I don't particularly like that interpretation, and I'd be happy if someone could tell me otherwise, but that's what I think happened. 

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OP here. Thanks for all of your comments. Sorry to confuse you, MrsRobinson; I don't think you missed anything!

 

When we watched it, we thought that because the vision of the drawing is shown in the midst of the visions including Ian, maybe Louise decides NOT to ever tell him she had already known Hannah would die even before she was conceived so he wouldn't leave her. After watching it again, I don't think that's the case. I think the future plays out just like Louise sees it, and she doesn't make any changes - at some point, she still tells him that she knew before Hannah's conception, and he leaves her. I don't particularly like that interpretation, and I'd be happy if someone could tell me otherwise, but that's what I think happened.

I watched again, too! Lol! :laugh: After watching it again, I think I'm going to have to read the story. ;)

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Interesting article about the guy who developed the screenplay, complete with quoted discussion about how he deviated some from the story in regards to the ending:   https://taylorholmes.com/2016/11/12/movie-arrival-explained-interview-eric-heisserer/

 

 

 

I think that made things even more confusing.  :laugh:

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Okay. Work with me here. I'm really trying to understand. :)

 

Here's how I saw it. When Louise was playing with very young Hannah with "tickle guns", she had a wedding ring on.

 

Then when Hannah is school age and shows Louise the picture of her parents together, Louise says "its ok to be sad that your dad and aren't..." and Hannah says basically, 'I'm not sad. Its just a picture.' (to me it sounded like they recently split up.)

 

Finally, Louise has a conversation with Hannah (again, school-age) while they are by the lake and Hannah says her dad doesn't look at her the same. Louise says, 'that's my fault. I told him something he wasn't ready to hear. He thinks I should've made a different choice.' To me indicating that she told him what was going to happen to Hannah around that time and he left her.

 

When Hannah is a teenager and asks her mom about non-zero-sum game, Louise acts a little defensive telling her to call her dad the scientist but then changes her tone and kindly tells her the answer. Seemed like they were divorced there.

 

In Hannah's diagnosis, treatment, and death scenes Louise is alone. Wouldn't Ian have been with her if she didn't tell him and they were still together?

 

So where does the movie explicitly say she DIDN'T tell him? She didn't tell him when she asked if he would change anything about his future if he knew what would happen. She didn't tell him when he asked her to have a baby. But again, to me it seemed like she waited until Hannah was older to tell him.

 

I thought the whole point of the movie was that life and love are about moments of time. Memories. Not about the destination. So Louise chose NOT to change anything and let it all happen. Hannah, telling Ian, him leaving, and Hannah's death.

 

Guys, this is driving me crazy!! What am I missing?? Is it something in the story not in the movie? Help! :)

 

 

This thread inspired me to watch the movie, which I did this morning. Thank you! It was marvelous and now I'm going to read the book. 

 

Here's my take: All the visions of the future happened to Louise while she was interacting with the aliens. It's possible that she could make different choices to change the future, thus making the visions inaccurate. So maybe she went ahead and let things ride and the visions stayed the same, or maybe the visions caused her to make changes and therefore the future was different. 

 

I really love that it leaves us to make conclusions. Either scenario seems possible based on what the movie gives us. 

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I love this movie. I interpreted the ending to mean that she was experiencing time kind of out of order. Not so much that she could see the future but that time was happening all at once. 

So I guess my opinion is that no she didn't change anything and learning the language allowed her to accept what her future would be. She kept the future she'd "seen" so that she could have her daughter. To her love was worth the inevitable loss both of her husband and of her child.

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