Poll

Louise Banks (Amy Adams) in Arrival:

had no choice.
8 (66.7%)
is a selfish shit.
4 (33.3%)

Total Members Voted: 12

Author Topic: Arrival  (Read 8349 times)

MartinTeller

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #140 on: September 11, 2017, 05:58:42 PM »
Does that help?

Not really. If we're accepting that Louise's choices happened/happen/will happen that doesn't mean she doesn't have a choice. Those things happened/happen/will happen because she's the type of person who did/does/will make those kind of choices.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 06:00:14 PM by MartinTeller »
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don s.

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #141 on: September 11, 2017, 07:34:56 PM »
The only thing that changed about the events is that Amy Adams' character became aware of them. Arguably, she never had the opportunity to make a choice: awareness doesn't equal agency, and the events would have played out the same way regardless of the outcome of her encounter with the squids. If you can wrap your head around the idea that linear time is an artificial construct, it makes it easier to reconcile this concept, I think.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 09:32:29 PM by don s. »
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MartinTeller

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #142 on: September 11, 2017, 08:57:32 PM »
I don't have a problem wrapping my head around that. I've been a sci-fi fan since like 5th grade. I think you might be missing my point, though. And I'm not sure how to articulate it better. The fact that the events "already happened" doesn't mean she has no agency. Not telling Ian what she knows is the choice she made/makes/will make because that's who she is/was/will always be. If she was the type of person to tell him, then THAT timeline is what  she would have seen. Time is not making her choices for her just because she experiences it non-linearly.
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don s.

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #143 on: September 11, 2017, 09:33:33 PM »
Sorry, on rereading just now, the "wrap your head around" remark comes off as patronizing. Didn't mean it that way.
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pixote

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #144 on: September 11, 2017, 09:54:06 PM »
The fact that the events "already happened" doesn't mean she has no agency.

Are there moments in the movie that support this reading (insistence on free will)? Or is that something that you as a viewer are projecting onto the story?

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saltine

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #145 on: September 11, 2017, 10:41:03 PM »
I'm certainly having a hard time wrapping my head around this argument, don s.

Are you saying it's possible that she had the child then learned that the child would die?
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St. Martin the Bald

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #146 on: September 11, 2017, 11:07:11 PM »
Here's why I think Martin's and Saltine's anger at the Amy Adams character is misplaced....

The cause and effect is ruined by the non-linear time.  I wonder at the scene with the general, because what caused what?  I think it is too difficult to determine and is often a problem in time-travel films.  I believe there is a cause-and-effect in a non-linear time understanding, but that it is so complicated to be almost impossible to determine.

Even so, Louise's decision isn't exactly causing Hannah to exist.  Or maybe it is.  But if it is, then the decision was already done by the time we see her "make" the decision.

Linear time is an illusion. Somehow, humans evolved to perceive time this way, which turned out to be a boon, since it allowed our primitive brains to understand cycles, which allowed us to invent agriculture and animal husbandry, which in turn allowed us to invent civilization. But it screws up our ability to understand this movie.

I keep seeing references to Louise's "choice." That's another illusion. Her daughter happened/happens/will happen. There's no changing it. Louise experiences it, and as a result of decoding the heptapods' language, she's versed in nonlinear time, and she understands that her experience is immutable.

The heptapods evolved differently. They experience time not linearly, but as something akin to a continuum. They can move back in forth in their own individual times, like we move through space. But they (and we) can't alter their time any more than we can warp the fabric of space. It's here. It's there. It was, is, and will be.

Does that help?

THANK YOU!

This film plays with the idea of destiny and fate - while it may be odious to many of us - there really is no way of knowing whether this is all pre-ordained.
Plus again - Ian was not prepared to understand her experience. He was still in the linear arrow of time.
And I personally reject the idea that we must alleviate all suffering to the point of denying a child existence. Who are we to decide if that child's short life was worth living?
All beings serve a purpose and we are obligated to allow them to serve it.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 11:13:43 PM by St. Martin the Bald »
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MartinTeller

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #147 on: September 11, 2017, 11:11:04 PM »
The fact that the events "already happened" doesn't mean she has no agency.

Are there moments in the movie that support this reading (insistence on free will)? Or is that something that you as a viewer are projecting onto the story?

pixote

"If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?" I'd say there's implied agency in that sentiment.
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St. Martin the Bald

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #148 on: September 11, 2017, 11:14:30 PM »
I'd say that we hope there's agency - but will we really know?
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don s.

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #149 on: September 11, 2017, 11:21:41 PM »
I actually reject the idea that it would have clearly been more humane not to have her daughter if she had the choice: I'm not sure what's crueler condemning someone to a life that's short and ends painfully or denying someone the opportunity to experience life in the first place. (I'm not really interested in that debate, though.) MY POINT is that Amy Adams' character did not make a conscious choice; she had no power to change the timeline (because time isn't a "line" that can be altered) and so shouldn't be blamed for making a bad "decision." (But I can see Martin's point about her knowingly misleading her husband, though I can imagine mitigating circumstances there. He didn't gain the same nonlinear-time squid-insights, so maybe he, too, assumed that his wife could change things, and that pissed him off [that's what we're told happens, right? It's been a while since I saw the movie].)

Saltine, it makes more sense to me that Amy Adams' character gained awareness of what was coming but went along with it because, along with that awareness, she understood it couldn't be changed. The movie shows us the death of the daughter first, as if to say: this happens, whether Amy Adams wants it or not.

The fact that the events "already happened" doesn't mean she has no agency.

Are there moments in the movie that support this reading (insistence on free will)? Or is that something that you as a viewer are projecting onto the story?

pixote

"If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?" I'd say there's implied agency in that sentiment.

I'd say that we hope there's agency - but will we really know?

I don't remember the statement Martin refers to, but it seems like an incomplete understanding of the implications of nonlinear time, even if it's uttered by a main character in the film.

Speaking of wrapping heads around stuff, I certainly have a hard time imagining what existence must be like when you're able to experience anything and everything that happens to you as a constellation of things rather than a progression. Everything that makes us human our notions of free will and planning and choices; of growing up, retirement, death; of recreation and creativity are keyed to points on a timeline that, even among most organisms on earth, only we perceive (i.e., that our brains manufacture for us).

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