I remember when Contact came out in theaters. I was only seven and my family and I were on a mini-vacation out east on Long Island - I think we were in Riverhead. My dad’s an engineer… so naturally he’d read the book and wanted to see the movie. There was a late showing and I didn’t want to go at all. Not only was I tired, but the movie was over two hours. What seven-year-old wants to watch a bunch of people talk about space for two and a half hours? Needless to say, I got to stay at the hotel with my aunt (I guess she didn’t want to go either).
It was many years later, when I was in high school, that I decided to watch the movie on my own. I loved it. I read the book (which is also great), but there was something about the movie that stuck with me.
Contact grapples with the now tired subject of science verses faith. Contact was one of the first movies that tackled the subject so well. Here’s a female scientist (played by Jodie Foster) named Ellie Arroway, who’s lost all faith… or maybe she never even had it to begin with. You can’t blame her, either. When she was a child, her father passed away and a priest pretty much told her it was God’s will… and this all happened right after the funeral.
Things get complicated when Dr. Arroway receives a signal from space, emanating from the star Vega. The signal is mysterious, but more clues unravel as the movie progresses. In the end, Dr. Arroway has a bit of a conversion - and she finally understands what faith is.
Contact is a very underrated movie. It shows that science and faith are two very different things, but there is room for both in our world.
Most notably, Contact shows that Matthew McConaughey can be in a movie that isn’t a romantic-comedy (or a terrible movie in general). If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth a rent. Yes, it is a little long (and believe me, I’m one who usually hates long movies), but don’t let that scare you away… unless you’re a seven-year-old vacationing in Riverhead.