Film Lists

Close Encounters of the Nice Kind: friendly ET’s in movies

Tony Black, as Close Encounters returns to our screens, looks at the friendlier ET's in movies...

CONTACT (1997)

Adapted from an earlier novel by scientist and all-round believer in extra-terrestrial life Carl Sagan, Contact is an antithesis to a decade which saw the rise of the alien invader picture in a way not seen since the even more paranoid 1950’s. Jodie Foster gives a heart felt performance as astronomer Ellie Arroway, who balances living with the loss of her beloved father as a child with her determined search for alien intelligence. Robert Zemeckis has much the same touch of magic as his frequent producing partner Spielberg, and pushes away from the alien paranoia aspects of the 90’s typified in shows such as The X-Files by making Ellie a scion of discovery and forward thinking as historic attempts to contact an alien civilisation are forged.

With an outstanding supporting cast (including Matthew McConaughey in an early, great turn as a priest who is willing to believe in aliens), it’s a hugely underrated, often quite gorgeous example of aliens turning out to be a force for good.

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