4 / 5
A clever weaving of special effects, conspiracy theories, and UFO accounts.
And forget Pauline Kael—who hasn’t?, Jean Renoir and Ray Bradbury were right that Close Encounters of the Third Kind was one of the best science fiction films ever. And why? Despite Steven Spielberg’s limitations as a storyteller, most notably his habit of answering questions rather than asking them, this film is imbued with excitement and insatiable human curiosity for the mysteries of extraterrestrial life.