I remember watching this sci-fi movie where a huge metallic capsule gets dropped from a few hundred meters. The capsule had a chamber inside where only one person could be seated. During the drop, time dilated and the person would transcend to another world, lasting for days, even meeting dead people. Kind of a parallel reality.

It was an amazing movie, but I cannot recall its name.

  • Really not grokking why this gets 23 (twenty three!) upvotes but I'm out of sync with the patriarchy, ever since the etymology of "joy-stick" was explained to me. Nov 24, 2021 at 0:20

2 Answers 2


That sounds a lot like Contact (IMDB ,Wikipedia), a 1997 movie starring Jodie Foster, based on the novel Contact (ISFDB, Wikipedia) by Carl Sagan. There is a lengthy review at Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy nitpicking the science in detail; I'll just quote the introduction:

First things first: I loved "Contact". It was sweeping, it was interesting, it was thought provoking. When it came out, I got email from people that complained that nothing happened. I couldn't disagree more! Just because it wasn't a shoot-em-up scifi flick doesn't mean that there was not drama and excitement. I enjoy the odd over-the-top movie, but you can't live on cotton candy. Sometimes you need something more meaty. "Contact" was a main course.

The movie was based on the novel of the same name by the famous astronomer Carl Sagan. Sagan was a brilliant researcher, and found that he was even better at describing the wonders of the Universe. He explained science to people in a way that not only could they understand, but so that it also moved them and made them appreciate the awe and majesty of the sky around them. I could write reams about the man and his influence both on the public and astronomers, but that's already been done. Let's talk about the movie instead.

"Contact" stands out from almost every other science fiction movie ever made in that it went to great pains to be accurate. Almost all of the plotline is based on either solid physics, or extrapolated from current theories. Some of the astronomers were slightly exaggerate in character, but it's safe to say that every stereotype depicted in the movie has seen its moment in real live astronomers. I'm glad that the Ellie Arroways outnumber the David Drumlins though! Mind you, some of the characters are based at least in part on real people: there is a blind SETI astronomer named Kent Cullers (in the movie the character was named Kent Clark). Despite her denials, I think Jill Tartar was in large part the inspiration for Ellie. If Sagan had an inspiration for Drumlin, he never said who it was.

Those of you familiar with my reviews know that I take a dim view of science errors in movies. However, I loved "Contact" and so I am willing to give it more leeway. Does that sound unfair? Too bad! It's my website! ;-) Actually, I am willing to give it more leeway because to went to such lengths to be accurate. While there are some errors in it, most are small, and some of the parts it got right are so amazing that I am astonished at the level of detail. In light of that, this review will be a bit different than the others: along with the errors, I will point out little details that were correct. The next time you watch the movie, check them out!

So: on to the review!

  • I can still get gooseflesh just thinking about the signal scene.
    – Beta
    Jun 4, 2014 at 19:08

It sounds like you're describing the 1997 Sci-fi movie "Contact" starring Jodie Foster

The "machine" consists of a metal ball that drops into an artificial wormhole, the protagonist then travels to a far-off world where she meets an alien that resembles her father.

  • <comments removed> Take the debate on how good a movie it is to chat.
    – user1027
    Jun 5, 2014 at 14:01

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