Contact

Factual error: At the end, after Ellie testifies before Congress, she departs the Capitol building to a waiting limo. The media is there waiting for her. Behind the reporters appears to be the Reflecting Pool, and the Washington Monument at the far end of it. However, in reality, the Reflecting Pool is actually located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, not the Capitol. While there are two Reflecting Pools, the columns in the movie are the columns of the Lincoln Memorial, not the Capitol. Furthermore, the steps leading to a street in front of the reflecting pool are located at the Lincoln Memorial; the Capitol has a large green lawn between it and the street.

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Suggested correction: It wasn't the Lincoln Memorial, but the Treasury Building.

Factual error: When Foster is going to Japan, a Harrier jet transports her to a ship. The ship is underway, traveling at quite a clip according to the wake. The Harrier landed on its heliport platform, facing the stern. Harriers hover, but cannot fly backwards at more than a crawl. It would have crashed.

Jack McNally

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Suggested correction: It isn't technically a harrier just another futuristic version of a VTOL aircraft. We don't know the capabilities of a fictional aircraft.

The VTOL is military, but she steps off a small commercial plane.

Factual error: The last time Eleanor Arroway talks to S.R. Haddon, he's aboard the Russian space station Mir, and Haddon explains that he's up there because the "low oxygen" and zero gravity counteracts his cancer. In fact, there is no "low oxygen" environment aboard space stations or other spacecraft. Low oxygen content would, of course, kill any astronauts or cosmonauts in short order. The breathable air in spacecraft always has at least the same oxygen content as Earth atmosphere at sea-level. In fact, most Russian missions used excessive amounts of oxygen. S.R. Haddon's original dialogue was probably "high oxygen and low gravity," but the line was bungled and allowed to remain in the film.

Charles Austin Miller

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Suggested correction: Also, being terminally ill, he is grasping at straws, and can't be expected to think solidly. After all, gravity wouldn't mean all that much to cancer cells in the human body, and special oxygen conditions of any kind can be generated on Earth (there is a weak possibility that low but sufficient for a human oxygen levels would slow cancer cells, which are often less efficient, more vulnerable in certain areas than healthy cells), so no need to go up, and finally, he may simply be Dennis Tito-ing and making an excuse to do so.

dizzyd

Factual error: The geography around the VLA in New Mexico is actually relatively flat - in fact one of the reasons why the array complex is there is because the land is flat. The canyon in the film was actually Canyon de Chelly, in Arizona, more than 170 miles (270 km) away. But in the film, when Ellie goes to the canyon, the radio antennas seem to be right there, insinuating that the canyon is part of the VLA's magical desert scenery.

solarpilot

More mistakes in Contact

Palmer Joss: What are you studying up there?
Ellie Arroway: Oh, the usual. Nebulae, quasars, pulsars, stuff like that. What are you writing?
Palmer Joss: The usual. Nouns, adverbs, adjective here and there.

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Question: In the few seconds (Earth time) it took for the pod to fall through the time travel device, it would have been impossible for Ellie to have become detached from the safety seat. It would have been even less possible for the seat to have become dislodged from the pod, AND for the seat to smash against the side of the pod with sufficient force crush it. I understand there was a cover-up (e.g., the 18 hours of static on her recording device), but Ellie, herself, would have remembered the dislodged, smashed seat. Why did she never bring it up in defense of her version of the facts? Was there a reason someone knows of, or is this just a plot hole?

Michael Albert

Chosen answer: Ellie defended her version of the facts with everything she had to work with, but the simple fact was that the government cover-up was just too strong for her to overcome. The points you raise are perfectly reasonable, but the version of events released by the powers-that-be denies everything that happened and, without any other proof, Ellie has only her word to convince people with. For some, that's enough, as we see in the film, even if a majority choose to believe the "official" version.

Tailkinker Premium member

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