We won’t talk about the huge twist in ‘Arrival‘ in case someone out there hasn’t seen it yet, but we do have one interesting reveal for a line from the film. While this one isn’t quite as big of a mystery as the huge plot twist, it is something that most non-Chinese speaking viewers were clueless on until now.

After the Chinese attack the aliens we see a scene where Amy Adams’ Louise Banks has begun to understand the alien’s language and what it means. This understanding has Banks calling China’s General Shang who has initiated the attack and tells him the last words of his deceased wife. In the film, this wasn’t subtitled, so most of the audience has been clueless as to what it meant.

Screenwriter Eric Heisserer attended the recent Alamo Drafthouse Fantastic Fest, and this line came up, and he shared the translation of it which is:

“In war, there are no winners, only widows.”

The lack of a subtitle here specifically was done as while Heisserer wanted it included, director Denis Villeneuve did not. The writer felt that there was no need to leave this open-ended as once people had a chance to talk to someone who spoke Chinese, look online, or use a translator app than the complete sentence would be explained away.

The lack of impact from the line to this side story makes it all the more reason that it really should have just had subtitles in the first place.

Are you happy to finally know what that mysterious line in the film was? Do you feel that it should have just been subtitled in the first place? Share your thoughts below!


ARRIVAL is a provocative science fiction thriller from acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve (SICARIO, PRISONERS). When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team — lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) — are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers — and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.

Source: Cinema Blend

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Stuart Conover is an author, blogger, and all around geek. When not busy being a father and husband he tries to spend as much time as possible immersed in comic books, science fiction, and horror! Would you like to know more? Follow him on Twitter!