User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 87 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 87
  2. Negative: 4 out of 87
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  1. Aug 17, 2010
    Once of my favorite films of all time. Contact makes you think and wonder about the universe around you differently and is a very good movie to boot.
  2. Apr 7, 2012
    This movie hit pretty close to home in a lot of different parts. Great acting, good cast, and excellent CG, especially for the time. Was in awe the entire time, now one of my favorite movies ever.
  3. Sep 28, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. On an impulse, I went and rewatched Contact, the 1997 film starring Jodie Foster. Man, what a great **** movie. Zemeckis did a lot of good work with Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future, and Forrest Gump, but Contact seems a bit more serious and mature, while still retaining that special magic that made those previous films successful.

    As the star of the film, Jodie Foster was amazing as Dr. Arroway. Maybe this is going out on a limb here, but I think she should've been nominated for an Oscar for her performance. Unlike a lot of females in big Hollywood movies, the best quality of her character is how driven and intelligent she is, instead of how big her boobs are. And really, how many times have we had a main female lead in a big blockbuster spectacle? Outside of Contact, there's... well, the Tomb Raider films... and Elektra... and Catwoman. It's just sad when you contrast any of those with Contact, isn't it? Is there anything about Lara Croft that's intellectual? She's treated solely as a sex object, right? And that is something that never ever happens with Arroway. Don't get me wrong, Jodie Foster is absolutely gorgeous in this film and looks breath-taking in many scenes, absolutely, but... she never becomes a sex object, she is always shown as a highly capable scientist and intellectual, first and foremost. This is so refreshing and it's a shame that it continues to be such a rarity in Hollywood today.

    In a lot of films, you also run the risk of an intelligent and highly motivated and aggressive female character being seen by the audience as... well, frankly, as a **** But that never ever comes close to happening in Contact. Arroway is simply this incredibly intelligent, yet dynamic and interesting character, who you empathize with and want to see succeed, and no small part of that is due to Foster's electrifying performance. When Palmer Joss falls for her and decides to vote against her because he doesn't want to lose her, we as the audience are right there with him because we've all fallen for her as well. I actually thought everyone in the cast did a great job. Matthew McConaughey usually just phones it in on those rom coms he tends to do these days, but I thought he was really good as Joss, the religious love interest. I totally bought their romance. Lot of chemistry there between them.

    Going back down memory lane, I read the novel back... in high school. Right after I watched the film for the first time, in fact. So, it's all a bit hazy, but I thought the book was really good as well. Generally quite similar to the film, but the ending is noticeably different. Both the film and the novel have the same central theme, which is a debate between religion and science. Instead of building one up while tearing the other down, as a lot of films are wont to do in this arena, the film takes us between the positions of one and the other until eventually, the accommodation we arrive at in the end is both thoughtful, respectful, and nuanced.

    The ending of the novel has the alien giving Arroway information on a signature of sorts for a universal creator. So she goes back, gets on this big supercomputer that calculates pi, and finds that after a really long time, the seemingly random numbers of pi actually form a pattern, which translates into a visual image of a circle. So that's the proof that God exists, because he planted this signature into pi. You can kinda see why they didn't go with this ending for the film. A scientist at a computer, watching a bunch of numbers being crunched is... not particularly cinematic.

    Oh, and as far as the ending goes, with the alien being her father... hey, I thought the wormhole ride was enough of a payoff, visually. That was already pretty mindblowing, with all the special effects, so I didn't really care that we didn't see any wacky alien lifeforms. And they explained it well enough in the story. I think the weakest storypoint is actually how at the end, they just keep grilling her and not believing her story, when all they had to do was send another person through.

    In a lot of ways, I find Contact very similar to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, except I think it succeeds where 2001 failed. There's the wonder and majesty of the universe, and it poses the same questions; who are we, why are we here, where are we going as a species... but unlike 2001, it's actually got interesting and engaging characters, a great narrative, a far better wormhole sequence, and really tight pacing throughout. 2001 is an emotionally cold film, yet I find just the opposite with Contact. There's so much emotion and richness to the main character, especially with her connection with her father, which we gradually find out with flashbacks.
  4. MooP.
    Sep 23, 2005
    I am amazed at how many critics got this movie so wrong. To be sure, the movie had the ambitious task of condensing Sagan's intelligent and realistic novel of the interplay of science, religion, and politics into bite-sized morsel. But it does so very effectively, without being pandering, self-important, or pretentious. The movie sets out some clear questions and lets the viewer take I am amazed at how many critics got this movie so wrong. To be sure, the movie had the ambitious task of condensing Sagan's intelligent and realistic novel of the interplay of science, religion, and politics into bite-sized morsel. But it does so very effectively, without being pandering, self-important, or pretentious. The movie sets out some clear questions and lets the viewer take away what they want from the accessible dialogue and the somewhat ambigous events at the end. Lost on most critics is something that makes the movie (and the novel) almost unqiue in the realm of Sci-F: it is one of the most realistic and in-depth portrayals of a scientist and how science intersects with the 'real world'. The character of Ellie is one of my favorites of all time. She is also an excellent role model for girls at a time when women are still underrepresented in the sciences. I give Sagans' book my highest recommendation, and this movie the highest score for doing such an effective job in conveying many of the book's ideas while maintaining an intriguing storyline. Collapse
  5. Sep 27, 2012
    Best Si-Fi movie ever. God and point are not existing but we need them anyway. And so we only wouldn't believe, we alone in that "awful waste of space". What a message!
  6. Mike
    Feb 23, 2005
    Imagine being in such a situation... Sagan was the visionar. Every detail is in the place. The idea still works through the SETI project on the Internet!
  7. BitBurn
    Mar 30, 2005
    I remember seeing this movie in the summer of 1997. Wow! I came home that night and went straight on my computer, surfed the SETI website. I find the film inspiring, especially if you're an astronomy fanatic like I am ;-) But the film is very well done, good storyline and excellent acting.
  8. DedeS.
    May 30, 2006
    I love this movie very much, watched Jodie Foster as astronomer. SHe very strong and active, as strong her acting. Bravo Jodie.
  9. BrentP.
    Jun 7, 2009
    This is my favorite film because it looks at the encounter with extra-terrestrial life in a totally fresh way. It's much more realistic and much more intelligent than most sci-fi films. It is truly a sci-fi drama that is emotionally moving yet cerebral.
  10. SteveP.
    Jun 22, 2006
    Contact was great. To those who said it was not so good you are wrong. Jodie was great in the film even though she did overact a bit.
  11. [Anonymous]
    Apr 22, 2007
    A scientist's vision the reconciles two seemingly irreconcilable philosophies of life: science and religion. The two forces clash throughout the world as humans are faced with the possibility of contact with sentient extraterrestrial life.
  12. JasonR
    May 11, 2009
    I agree with Moo P. 100%. Contact doesn't feel like a sci fi film at all. It feels like a drama that happens to involve space travel. Why this film isn't more popular is a bit of a mystery to me. One of my favorite films. Excellent story, excellent acting, superb atmosphere, sound and special effects in aiding the story, not showing off or drawing attention to itself. A rare film.
  13. Aug 17, 2014
    This movie is not for everyone, just for people interested on philosophy or the existence. The performances are dazzling, Jodie Foster is a very talented actress, also the screenplay made by one of the best astronomers in the world, Carl Sagan. This movie deserves more credit from the "professional" critics and the users. Very underrated!
  14. Apr 13, 2015
    I warn you. this is one of the saddest and most depressing Sci-Fi films you will ever see. Many times I cried while watching. This movie is just so beautiful and powerful, led by Jodie Fosters excellent performance. I expected to not like this movie, but boy was I wrong. This is one of my favorite Sci-Fi films of all time, and I want to buy it on Blu-Ray. 9/10 (amazing)

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. The movie, adapted from a novel by Carl Sagan, presents one long chain of teasingly open-ended questions about reason versus faith and technology versus religion, and ends up tentatively embracing mysticism over rationality.
  2. 100
    Contact is that rare big-budget motion picture that places ideas, characters, and plot above everything else.
  3. 50
    Contact aims to be a film of ideas but serves too many of them half-baked.