Friday I saw the film Arrival, which is based on a short story by Ted Chiang. It's the first science fiction movie that I've seen in a very long time that deeply affected me. It really is that good.
The worst thing is that I can't really talk too much about it because I feel like it'll give too much away. Science fiction, as a genre, has become too dependent on special effects, and it detracts from the storytelling. The two aren't mutually exclusive, but the balance isn't great. Arrival challenges that, and Amy Adams in particular is extraordinary in conveying the emotion of a plot that isn't entirely clear until the end. You can't help but leave the theater thinking deeply about what you just saw, which is a striking change from the blockbuster nonsense of late. (For example, the Independence Day sequel was largely forgettable, despite its box office take.)
I feel like art, in the commercial sense, doesn't always challenge us very well. I don't entirely think that's bad, because sometimes we just want to be entertained. Movies, music, books don't always have to take us there. But there are times that you want it to help you gain new perspective. This is one of those movies.
Go see it.