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62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 86 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Jodie Foster stars as headstrong visionary astronomer Ellie Arroway in Contact, a drama of discovery, based on the best-selling 1985 novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted astronomer Carl Sagan.  (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. 100
    Contact is that rare big-budget motion picture that places ideas, characters, and plot above everything else.
  2. 88
    Sagan's novel Contact provides the inspiration for Robert Zemeckis' new film, which tells the smartest and most absorbing story about extraterrestrial intelligence since "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
  3. Reviewed by: Neil Jeffries
    80
    Contact delivers on more than a pure visual level, reiterating the idea that greatest progress is made taking "small steps" towards enlightenment.
  4. Little effort is made to churn up romantic chemistry between Foster and McConaughey. For better or worse, director Robert Zemeckis sticks to Sagan's original vision for these characters, in which they're basically totems embodying both sides of a philosophical dialectic.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    60
    Robert Zemeckis's movie is frustratingly uneven. When it's good, it's very good. And when it's not, it can be as silly and self-important as bad '50s sci-fi.
  6. Contact, directed by Robert Zemeckis, may be too long, too self-important and too "Gump"-like to be completely satisfying. But it contains elements that are so striking they pretty much redeem the film.
  7. 40
    In some ways, Contact is just like the universe: big, star-bright and seemingly endless. Not to mention that it begins with a big bang, gradually falls into a lull and finally succumbs to entropy.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Apr 7, 2012
    10
    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 inThis 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. Expand
  2. MooP.
    Sep 23, 2005
    10
    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 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. Expand
  3. DedeS.
    May 30, 2006
    10
    I love this movie very much, watched Jodie Foster as astronomer. SHe very strong and active, as strong her acting. Bravo Jodie.
  4. Sep 28, 2011
    10
    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.
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  5. Apr 13, 2015
    9
    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 isI 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) Expand
  6. Jul 18, 2014
    7
    Contact is a pretty good science fiction film that is very thought provoking and well-made. As with all of his films, Robert Zemeckis reallyContact is a pretty good science fiction film that is very thought provoking and well-made. As with all of his films, Robert Zemeckis really shows his skill in the director's chair here. The script and story are both very good and the visual effects are brilliantly put together and gorgeous. The acting here is also good, in particular from Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, and William Fichtner. The message here is also a good one, as it essentially argues that science and religion are not mutually exclusive and can work together, rather than against one another. You can also see the influence of 2001: A Space Odyssey here for sure, as well as the influence of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the way the possibility of aliens is handled. Overall, the film is an enjoyable one and easy to watch, while still remaining thought provoking and effective thanks to killer performances and direction. The film is far from perfect, but remains quite good. Expand
  7. RitaP.
    Feb 4, 2006
    2
    This film robbed me of more than 2 hours of my life, its a sin I cannot forgive.

See all 21 User Reviews

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