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Favorite Movie Moment: Contact

I've started a new category on this blog--one that highlights some of my favorite moments in film. This scene takes place near the end of Contact, when Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) is asked to defend her claims that she traveled through a wormhole even though there is no physical record of that experience. Why a favorite movie moment? Because Ellie's description of her experience is uncannily close to how I might testify about my own experiences with Jesus. And that gives me an opportunity to bring God-talk into open spaces.
CHAIRMAN: Dr. Arroway, you come before us with no evidence. No records, no artifacts -- only a story that -- to put I mildly -- strains credibility. Over two trillion dollars was spent, hundreds of lives were lost, many more may be in jeopardy due to the almost incalculable worldwide psychological impact... Are you going to sit there and tell us that we should simply take this all on faith?

KITZ: Answer the question, Doctor. As a scientist -- can you prove any of this?

Ellie closes her eyes. Finally, almost inaudibly-

ELLIE: No.

The room is silent. Almost gently-

KITZ: So why don't you admit what by your own standards must be the truth: that this experience simply didn't happen.

Ellie pauses, then, simply-

ELLIE: Because I can't.

The crowd reacts. Ellie looks up to the gallery . . . and finds Joss. As she speaks with great emotion and restraint, she seems to be talking directly to him.

ELLIE: I had... an experience. I can't prove it. I can't even explain it. All I can tell you is that everything I know as a human being, everything I am -- tells me that it was real.

The room grows quiet.

ELLIE: I was given something wonderful. Something that changed me. A vision of the universe that made it overwhelmingly clear just how tiny and insignificant -- and at the same time how rare and precious we all are. A vision... that tells us we belong to something greater than ourselves... that we're not -- that none of us -- is alone.

I wish I could share it. I wish everyone, if only for a moment -- could feel that sense of awe, and humility... and hope. That continues to be my wish.
(Image: Copyrighted by Warner Bros; text from Screenplays For You)

Comments

I'm pretty sure this scene is going to make it into my sermon based on Hebrews 11 (particularly vs 1). I would've never known about it if you had not posted it. I went to rent it from the local Blockbuster but it was checked out and due back soon. Hopefully, I can watch the movie before the sermon is finished. Thanks for this post.
Carmen Andres said…
vicar, this is one of my favorite God-talk films of all time. funny, it's carl sagan's story, but its so rich in faith.