If there is such a thing as a perfect movie, then Arrival comes very close to fitting that description. It is a perfect example of a film in which the concept does not outweigh the narrative and the artistic vision does not diminish the entertainment value.
It is hard to find films in which everything feels so right you almost don’t notice it, until you reflect back on it. At the time of watching, I was emotionally touched by the story and the beautiful symbiosis of sound and image. But only in the aftermath did I appreciate how truly exceptional all of the parts fit together: the concept, the production, the acting, and that despite the film’s “wholesomeness,” it still left me with questions to ponder.
Even the storyline of the protagonist grieving the loss of a child, which I generally find overused, makes sense within the overarching idea of the film. You won’t know it at first, of course, until in the very end everything comes full circle. A perfect circle, indeed.