The movie Contact, based on the novel by Carl Sagan, is a fascinating journey through the human mind that attempts to answer the questions that humans have been asking since the dawn of time, ‘Are we alone in the Universe? ‘; Ellie Arroway (portrayed by Jodie Foster), the main character of the movie refers to the historic event upon which the movie is based, contact with an alien civilization, as one of the most significant events in human history, and rightly so. This film explores the religious implications of such an event as well as the faith that one has to have afterwards.
Arroway’s journey indeed resembles that of the ‘hero’s quest. ‘; Of course Ellie being the hero, is faced with something the world has yet to encounter: contact from aliens. She then voluntarily sacrifices herself for what seems to be ‘a greater good’….. to be the first human to converse with an extra-terrestrial existence, only to be disregarded because of her beliefs. That was one hurdle she had to overcome. The religious extremist was a ‘demonic adversary’ that, for a moment in the movie, appeared to have terminally halted the entire project.
Then ‘the wise counselor,’ the man with cancer, emerged with his purpose: to lead Arroway on the right path. Faced again with taking the journey that could only be taken alone, she of course had to find a reason that would make it harder to leave, the ‘companion’ (Matthew McConaughtey’s character). This was another hurdle she had to overcome. She takes the journey to come out a changed person, for the better, as the movie evidently is implying. And in the end, the hero is reunited with the one she loves, her ‘companion.
This movie bridges the gap between science and religion. How else can you explain the moving ending of an agnostic scientist trying to explain what just happened to her without the benefit of one shred of proof? Arroway’s only other option to believe her journey took place is to fall back on faith after having shunned the faith that others had inGod before. In the end, Contact leaves the idea of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence or the Almighty for us, the audience to ponder and determine for ourselves.