Arrival is a melancholy movie, very deliberately built out of paradoxes: fear commissions the operation of reason. Violence induces compassion. Visitors arrive without traveling. Hope exists in the sure knowledge of tragedy. Being a piece of art, it expresses these paradoxes with particular symbols, from the lexical to the musical to the visual idiom that we’re used to in the movies around us. And being a piece of science fiction, it’s concerned with the world of the creators far more than with the world of the fiction, which serves as an extended metaphor for the human experience.