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In this Zemeckis-directed adaptation of the Carl Sagan novel, Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) races to interpret a possible message originating from the Vega star system. Once first contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence is proven, Arroway contends with restrictive National Security Advisor Kitz (James Woods) and religious fanatics bent on containing the implications of such an event. An incredible message is found hidden in the signal, but will Arroway be the one to answer its call?