It's been four years since her father's death, and 17-year-old Nadine (Steinfeld) is struggling with depression and anxiety. When her older brother, Darian (Jenner), starts seeing her best friend, Krista (Richardson), Nadine turns to Erwin (Szeto), another awkward outsider from her school whom she's never gotten to know before. Despite forging an immediate connection with Erwin, Nadine still has a crush on another boy from school whom she's only ever met once, leaving her caught between her tugging emotions even as she pulls away from her brother and mom (Sedgwick).
When a dozen alien craft appear at sites across the planet, linguist Louise Banks (Adams) is brought to the landing site in Montana by Army Col. Weber (Whitaker) to help decipher the aliens' language. Working alongside physicist Ian Donnelly (Renner), she enters the craft and begins trying to communicate with the large and bizarre looking aliens by deciphering their inhuman language. As the long days and extreme stress wear on her, she begins having lucid dreams of her dead daughter.
After being filmed rescuing his wounded sergeant and dragging him to safety in the middle of a firefight in Iraq, Army specialist Billy Lynn (Alwyn) becomes an overnight celebrity and war hero back home. With his entire squad now being held up as American heroes, they're brought back home for a tour across the nation that ends with an appearance at the halftime show of a Thanksgiving Dallas Cowboys football game. For Billy and his squadron, though, the horrors of the war are still fresh, and the pain of losing the very sergeant that Billy was filmed trying to save is a raw wound that refuses to close.