This compelling story of first contact, based on the Nebula Award winning novella "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, runs with the likes of 2013's Upstream Color, 2014's Interstellar and 2015's Ex Machina.
A team is urgently assembled to make first contact with whoever or whatever has arrived in the alien craft now hovering over a remote valley in Montana, as are eleven others at different locations around the planet. On the American team is Amy Adams, a renowned linguist whose passion for communication is tempered by personal loss. Jeremy Renner plays an amiable astrophysicist who chooses to follow her lead. Forest Whitaker's performance as a dour Army officer was so rigidly subdued I didn't recognize him at first.
I can't say a word more without giving away too much. You deserve to experience this lushly beautiful, deeply thoughtful, and rigorously imaginative film the way director Denis Villeneuve intended, without preconception.
I'll be seeing it again, at least once. See it cold, then let's talk.
PS, The final theatrical trailer even gives to much away. The first trailer does not.
UPDATE 11/11/16: Saw it again today. Even better the second time. I'm ordering the anthology in which the source material was first published in 1998.
UPDATE 11/18/16: Chiang's "Story of Your Life" was innovative and well-written, but it turns out the screenplay by Eric Heisserer improves upon it in many significant ways.
UPDATE: 11/22/16: Watched it again last night. Third time is the charm. What a marvelously well-crafted film.