Jodie Foster is the intensely serious Ellie, a driven astronomer who chooses the possibility of contacting her dead parents over romantic love. It’s refreshing to see a woman in a brainy and intellectual role who walks the walk, and watching Ellie explain a few mathematical basics to a government hack only too willing to cut her funding is worth the price of admission. Above all that, it’s a beautifully rendered sci-fi journey to the other side, one that debates issues of faith and reason, science and religion. [us, 1997]

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