Customer Review

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six stars, if only I could., December 21, 2005
This review is from: Contact (Snap Case) (DVD)
This is more of a personal response to this movie, since many other reviewers have detailed the plot, the actors, the strengths and (though few, in my opinion) the weakenesses.

To the dismay of my family, especially of my 14-year-old daughter, this is still one of my favorite movies, if not my most favorite. (To be fair to said daughter, a few weeks ago she picked this one from a list of three, sat through the entire movie, and then wanted to discuss it afterward. Yessss!)

I have dealt through my entire adult life with the issues of "science vs. religion." No other Hollywood movie I'm familiar with addresses this nexus so well. I grew up in a conservative religious environment, in which the short chronology of Earth was a given. And by short I mean about 6,000 years, per the genealogical chronologies of the Hebrew Old Testament. (As you may know, the Greek Septuagint OT chronologies run a tad longer, say about 7,000.)

Graduate study in ancient Near Eastern history/achaeology and excursions into geology (including a three-week stint in the fossil forests of the Yellowstone) forced me to reconsider the "given-ness" of the short age of Earth, and to look more objectively at the nature of "truth," of perception and epistmelogy, of "myth" (as an organizing stucture). Without saying more, let me just say that this personal journey has left me closer to Ellie Arroway than to Joss Palmer.

I used to say that religion and science were two valid ways of looking at the universe. Now I'm not even sure what such an assertion means. I no longer think of myself as a two-part witness to reality (whatever that is). Split epistemology like this no longer works for me.

Ellie and Joss wrestle with "Ocham's Razor." In terms that would be entirely at home in the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design "debate," this movie asks the hard question that few on the religious Right today seen to care for: "What is the evidence."

Other reviewers have made the point, correctly, that this movie is appropriately ambiguous on the answers to the largest questions. That said, good science still has the best approach to deriving trustworthy answers about the universe. I will leave for others the question of the place of religion in this mix.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 3, 2009 8:40:40 PM PST
Pacific808 says:
Your review has hit the absolute "core" of what this film is about. Your observations and explanations and comments (which come, obviously, from the heart of someone who was brought up in a religious family, such as myself), simply hit all of the "marks." Thanks, so much, for posting this! There is no better way to explain this film to anyone than what you have said. Namaste.

Posted on May 7, 2009 11:18:14 AM PDT
you hit it right on the red button. This is what the heart and soul of Contact is. Sadly, so, SO many have missed the point of this BRILLIANT film entirely. I can't think of another movie which exposed the hollowness of religion more sublimely.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 23, 2009 3:12:24 PM PDT
Thanks! This response means a lot. All the best!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 23, 2009 3:13:58 PM PDT
Thanks! How could you tell ("brought up in a religious family")? <wink> I suppose it takes one to know one, eh? All the best!
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