"For as long as I can remember, I've been searching for some reason why we're here -- what are we doing here, who are we? If this is a chance to find out even just a little part of that answer, I think it's worth a human life, don't you?"

-Ellie Arroway

As a young girl, she would leave her bed at night to sit at her short-wave radio, seeking other voices to answer her own. Following the death of her father, Ellie devoted herself to science, the one thing in her life she thought could bring her the absolute explanations she longed for.

In college, her unanswered questions drove her to look for voices from even more distant sources, and she chose the search for intelligent extraterrestrial messages as her discipline. Her ambition propelled her to the top of her class and ignited a promising career. Despite scorn from most of the scientific community and overwhelming odds to the contrary, she fought for just a few hours of satellite time a week to sweep distant space for evidence of other intelligent life. Through it all, Ellie maintained an unswerving conviction that there is something more in the universe.

Then, one morning in the desert, something arrives to vindicate Ellie's belief.

From the distant star Vega, a radio message comes to Earth and Ellie receives it. As the countries of the world unite in an effort to decode the transmission, the planet faces the message with equal parts hope and fear, for contained within it are blueprints for a machine of intergalactic travel capable of transporting its passenger to deep space. It could mean the dawning of an astounding new era -- or certain Armageddon.

Amid the worldwide tumult, Ellie becomes a lightning rod of controversy. Fighting for her rightful place as leader of the scientific investigation, she turns to her one potential ally among those wielding influence on the world stage: Palmer Joss (MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY), a respected religious scholar and top-level government advisor. Years earlier, Ellie and Palmer had shared a brief and passionate relationship that ended because of Ellie's single-minded pursuit of her career. Now, estranged by time and their divergent beliefs, but brought together by their joint passion for understanding the message, the scientist and the spiritual leader find themselves struggling with their renewed mutual attraction.

As the world wrestles with the questions raised by the message, and humanity warily approaches the brink of a new millennium, Ellie vies to be selected as the single representative who will leave the Earth to explore the galaxies, seeking the unknown extraterrestrial source -- and becoming the first person to make contact.

But her personal voyage will take her beyond theory, beyond knowledge, beyond experience, to the realization that true vision is ultimately the union of fact and faith.

Jodie Foster, whose poignant work in "The Accused" and riveting performance in "The Silence of the Lambs" earned her two Best Actress Academy Awards, stars as the headstrong visionary astronomer in "Contact," a drama of discovery, based on the best-selling 1985 novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted astronomer CARL SAGAN and directed by Academy Award-winner ROBERT ZEMECKIS.

With such successes as the "Back to the Future" trilogy, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and "Romancing the Stone," Zemeckis has proven himself a director whose films are embraced by critics and audiences alike. Zemeckis now returns to directing for the first time since winning the Best Director Oscar for "Forrest Gump," a film that was also named Best Picture and that became the biggest box-office film of 1994.

Starring with Foster is Matthew McConaughey, who certified his position at the forefront of exciting young actors with his commanding lead performance in Warner Bros.' "A Time to Kill." Joining Foster and McConaughey is an ensemble cast portraying the kaleidoscopic range of figures involved in the international drama. Among them, JAMES WOODS co-stars as National Security Advisor Michael Kitz along with JOHN HURT as influential and enigmatic billionaire S.R. Hadden. TOM SKERRITT plays David Drumlin, Ellie's former mentor who becomes her competitor in the selection of the planet's single representative. WILLIAM FICHTNER is Ellie's longtime colleague and supporter, Dr. Kent Clark, while DAVID MORSE portrays Ellie's father, Ted, who inspires her love of astronomy as a young girl. ANGELA BASSETT plays Rachel Constantine, a high-ranking presidential advisor who recognizes the fire that motivates Ellie, and ROB LOWE appears as Richard Rank, the leader of a powerful conservative religious coalition.

PanMan Rating :

"A Fantastic Film - One of the Classics!" - PanMan