trey northcutt’s review published on Letterboxd:
They just don't make them like this anymore. I had the pleasure of viewing this masterpiece for the first time ever on the big screen for its 40th anniversary, and I was completely blown away. This one of the most tightly written, best acted, and most emotionally-driven science-fiction movie out there. No contest. If JAWS is what put Spielberg on the map, this is what made him a household name. For being made in 1977, the special effects look as beautiful as ever - bright, neon, and unlike anything any of us have seen. Let's talk performances. Undoubtedly, this is Richard Dreyfuss's best role. He's relatable, down-to-earth, and very sympathetic. In addition, he makes the audience fall in love with him so much that we want to go on this crazy journey with him. Melinda Dillon provides the heart of the movie, that is to say, the journey to get her son back. François Truffaut and Bob Balaban are great in their supporting roles, giving us the moral side of the government officials. John Williams, as always, is at his A game with his score here, hitting every note perfectly to fit the mood of the scene. One of the good things about this re-release is that it played a featurette beforehand with interviews from Spielberg and other sci-fi directors. Spielberg stated that his main intention was not to make a sci-fi film, but rather mix the alien invasion mythos with the recent feelings towards political coverups (i.e. Watergate). After watching it, I can say that he 100% succeeded in his goal. For most of the movie, we are with Dreyfuss and Dillion in their households, dealing with their recent encounters, all the while the government is working to meet with the aliens in secret. The moment at which I realized just how tightly written this movie is was when we see the US fighter pilots at the end, wrapping up a plot thread set up in the first moments of the film. Spielberg has such attention to detail and gives everything that special touch that it's no wonder why he can evoke so many emotions out of us. Hell, I was complete mess throughout the entire final act based solely on how much of a spectacle everything was. This is a film that only gets better with age, and to watch it on the big screen was pure magic. A true cinematic classic from one of the greatest directors of our time.