Contact revolves around Dr. Eleanor Arroway (Jodie Foster), a scientist working for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). One day, Dr. Arroway picks up an alien message containing a blueprint for building a mysterious machine. Eventually, after overcoming tremendous odds and setbacks, Dr. Arroway is able to test the machine, and, in the process, makes a tremendous discovery about alien life.
But back up. Contact isn't just about space travel and aliens. Dr. Arroway lost both of her parents as a child, and spends her whole life searching for alien life. Along the way, she makes a connection with the very religious Palmer Joss (a pre "McConaissance" Matthew McConaughey), a man with his own ideas about the universe and human nature. Really, the film is dealing with a simple idea. We feel so lonely, but if the stars are full of life, can we ever be truly alone? As a mysterious character points out at the end of the film, "You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not." If nothing else, that's what Contact wants us to take away - we are not alone, in a literal sense, but also in a much bigger way.
This week's scene* chronicles Dr. Arroway's use of the machine near the end of the movie. More than anything, this scene is a favorite of mine because of its genuine sense of excitement. Watching the machine build up to a mysterious launch is nerve wracking, but it's also just such a thrilling idea that we could travel to other worlds with the push of a button, and reach beyond our previous potential to something more. Take a look:
I hope you get a kick out of that as much as I do! And if you're curious about what happens to Dr. Arroway after that drop, head here. Enjoy your weekend and never stop searching!
*There may be a weird little bit of editing at play here. I just rewatched this flick about a week ago and I remember the beginning of this scene being a little different. Maybe...aliens?