A In this unshakable odyssey of sadness and hope from director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), 12 slender spaceships hover quietly above Earth. People around the globe quickly discover that the ships are home to graceful, squid-like creatures who communicate using smoky-looking symbols, which shatteringly sorrowful linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) gradually begins to decode. Her quest to understand why these many-armed visitors have parked above this particular planet has a dreamy repetition—day after day, Louise enters one of the spaceships, gazes at the symbols conjured by the aliens and updates a squad of tense U.S. soldiers who guard the landing site. All of this is captured with extraordinary grace by cinematographer Bradford Young, who imbues the looming spacecraft and even the grass it floats above with somber beauty. Beyond the ship, the world is less tranquil—the aliens’ arrival rouses humanity’s ugliest impulses in both America and beyond. Yet Arrival inspires because of Louise, who enters the movie shrouded in grief but still has compassion for both the aliens and humanity. Her conviction is the movie’s gift to us, a reminder that the future of Earth depends on our capacity to love one another, no matter what’s lurking overhead. PG-13. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Fox Tower, Lloyd, Tigard, Vancouver.
Peter and the Farm
This new doc from Tony Stone follows Peter Dunning, an isolated farmer in Vermont who came up as an artist in the 1960s counterculture movement and has since turned into a hard-drinking loner. Not screened for critics. NR. Hollywood Theatre. 2 pm Saturday, Nov. 12.
Naomi Watts stars as a psychologist whose husband is killed and teenage son is left brain dead by a catastrophic car accident. When a deadly winter storm hits her isolated home, she comes to believe an intruder is trying to harm her and her son. Not screened for critics. PG-13. Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Eastport.