Taking Another Look at Contact (1997)

I just re-watched the 1997 movie Contact, starring Jodie Foster and adapted from the Carl Sagan book.  I hadn’t seen it since the late 90s or so, but it was sitting on Amazon Prime, so why not?

But the one thing that I think has really changed since the last time I saw it is my reaction to the religious content in the movie.  Last time, from what I can remember, I tolerated it.  This time I absolutely hated it.

I honestly had a rather violent reaction this time, truth be told.  When the religious assholes were demanding that Jodie Foster’s character couldn’t go because she didn’t believe in God, I wanted to throttle them. Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot less tolerant of religious horse shit.

I mean, I still like the movie in general, but I’ve started to notice that it really makes Jodie Foster’s character start to look a lot more religious, especially at the end.  She has to play into every single religious trope that they set up in her path, she had to parrot back all of the mindless religious tripe they had said to her throughout the movie.  And in the end, there was a grand religious conspiracy to keep her discredited.  Religion clearly won in the end, although it was an underhanded, devious victory.

And that’s not how the book ended at all.  But I haven’t read the book in a very long time either. Either way, the movie really pissed me off this time through.  I would have been much happier if it had been Arroway fighting against incessant irrationality in the world and winning, but she lost.  Irrationality won. And that’s just not the kind of movie I want to see.  I know Sagan died before the movie came out but something in me wants to think that he’d be metaphorically spinning in his grave over what it turned out to be.

But hey, what do I know, right?

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