The Visitor (15)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jul 1 2008

Thomas McCarthy’s belated follow up to his low-key 2003 indie gem ‘The Station Agent’ takes as its inspiration the lives of illegal immigrants in America, creating a stark, pointedly political character drama.

The initial setup reminds us of McCarthy’s earlier film: another lonely misanthrope – in this case Richard Jenkins’s disheartened economics professor Walter Vale – is forced into contact with other human beings, and finds himself opening up in the process. Here the intruders are immigrant couple Tarek and Zainab, who have been illegally squatting in Walter’s New York apartment, and with whom he begins a tentative, wary friendship. But when Tarek is arrested by Homeland Security officers and banged up in a grim, urban repatriation facility, Walter is forced to make a choice: abandon Tarek to his fate, or step up and get involved. The arrival on the scene of Tarek’s beautiful, widowed mother only adds another layer of emotional complexity to Walter’s already tangled situation.

The character work in ‘The Visitor’ is admittedly lovely: there are moments of conflict, tenderness and intimate self-discovery that hint at real depths in the figures on screen. But McCarthy’s political story is far less convincing. Implausibly warm and logically fuzzy, his treatment of his immigrant protagonists smacks of crude political correctness. These figures are essentially perfect: polite, fun-loving and affectionate, model citizens pitted against a faceless, repressive state. While elements of this may ring true, it feels distinctly underwhelming as drama, drowning McCarthy’s subtle, searching dialogue and incisive, humanist character development in a morass of right thinking, left-leaning platitudes.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jul 4, 2008

Duration:

106 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Tom McCarthy

Screenwriter:

Tom McCarthy

Cast:

Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira, Hiam Abbass, Marian Seldes

Music:

Jan AP Kaczmarek

Cinematography:

Oliver Bokelberg

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|21
1 person listening
Eileen

I agree with this review. Thanks for your insightful analysis of this offensive movie.

Josie

Ignore the review by someone obviously having a bad day, or just attempting to be controversial ... and simply enjoy a very good little film.

John

A terrific film.The Time Out review above is quite mistaken in separating performances from story - it all hangs together perfectly successfully and convincingly.His final dig at 'right thinking,left-leaning platitudes ' is cynical nonsense.What we see is an effective and affecting portrayal of concern for another.

John

A terrific film.The Time Out review above is quite mistaken in separating performances from story - it all hangs together perfectly successfully and convincingly.His final dig at 'right thinking,left-leaning platitudes ' is cynical nonsense.What we see is an effective and affecting portrayal of concern for another.

J.P.

A terrific film.The Time Out review above is quite mistaken in separating performances from story - it all hangs together perfectly successfully and convincingly.His final dig at 'right thinking,left-leaning platitudes ' is cynical nonsense.What we see is an effective and affecting portrayal of concern for another

J.P.

A terrific film.The Time Out review above is quite mistaken in separating performances from story - it all hangs together perfectly successfully and convincingly.His final dig at 'right thinking,left-leaning platitudes ' is cynical nonsense.What we see is an effective and affecting portrayal of concern for another

gerard caron

From the writer and director of The Station Agent, another low-keyed,quiet and subtle film that is both intellgent and moving - a rare accomplishment. Thomas McCarthy manages to deal with broader social issues through close inspection experiences of very "ordinary" people whose lives are changed profoundly as a consequence of chance encounters with others. The film's relevance to contemporary social issues (plight of immigrants in the US) is perceptive and powerful, yet the closely observed personal stories of the central characters add immediacy and emotional impact that would be missing from a mere "issues" film. As in The Station Agent, flawless performances and the director's deft touch with everyday lives make this film a rich experience. Don't miss it

gerard caron

From the writer and director of The Station Agent, another low-keyed,quiet and subtle film that is both intellgent and moving - a rare accomplishment. Thomas McCarthy manages to deal with broader social issues through close inspection experiences of very "ordinary" people whose lives are changed profoundly as a consequence of chance encounters with others. The film's relevance to contemporary social issues (plight of immigrants in the US) is perceptive and powerful, yet the closely observed personal stories of the central characters add immediacy and emotional impact that would be missing from a mere "issues" film. As in The Station Agent, flawless performances and the director's deft touch with everyday lives make this film a rich experience. Don't miss it

mystiquecritic

This movie was the very best that I have seen in many years. It is well worth viewing by anyone interested inimmigration issues. Our entire family saw it and enjoyed it -- as it is rated PG-13 -- probably suitable for those 16 and older --- rather than 13 and older. I disagree with the labeling of any of these characters as "misfits" -- This movie is not overly sentimentalized -- but is beautifully and believably written. Many other posts on the internet have been asking if "The Visitor" will be nominated for and Oscar -- either for best motion picture or for the lead -- Jenkins - wonderful performance. I certainly hope that the first reviewer's negative opinion does not idiscourage viewers from experiencing this sensitively written and well-conceived movie for themselves

mystiquecritic

This movie was the very best that I have seen in many years. It is well worth viewing by anyone interested inimmigration issues. Our entire family saw it and enjoyed it -- as it is rated PG-13 -- probably suitable for those 16 and older --- rather than 13 and older. I disagree with the labeling of any of these characters as "misfits" -- This movie is not overly sentimentalized -- but is beautifully and believably written. Many other posts on the internet have been asking if "The Visitor" will be nominated for and Oscar -- either for best motion picture or for the lead -- Jenkins - wonderful performance. I certainly hope that the first reviewer's negative opinion does not idiscourage viewers from experiencing this sensitively written and well-conceived movie for themselves

RAB

Not sure what film Melissa Anderson went to see, but this is a delightful, sensitive, and genuinely moving little piece. Life is messy, intentions are confusing, the right thing to do is always clouded. Guns and car chases are not the stuff of everyday human experiences, while grief, confusion, and irrationality are what we all know. As anyone who has read Sacks' latest book "Musicophilia" is aware, music is a more primitive language of emotion and connection. The drumming acts as that medium of communication across two cultures in a situation that is quite believable. Forget that awful review of Anderson and her condescending remark about "the rhythm nation." Go see it yourself.

RAB

Not sure what film Melissa Anderson went to see, but this is a delightful, sensitive, and genuinely moving little piece. Life is messy, intentions are confusing, the right thing to do is always clouded. Guns and car chases are not the stuff of everyday human experiences, while grief, confusion, and irrationality are what we all know. As anyone who has read Sacks' latest book "Musicophilia" is aware, music is a more primitive language of emotion and connection. The drumming acts as that medium of communication across two cultures in a situation that is quite believable. Forget that awful review of Anderson and her condescending remark about "the rhythm nation." Go see it yourself.

Ted

I almost didn't go to see this film based on this bad review, but I'm glad I did see it - it's a wonderful, intelligent film with great performances, beautfully framed, packed with powerful moments, gazes, glances. I feel bad that the TONY reviewer saw an entirely different film - and I feel bad that because of a bad review, some people might make the mistake that I almost made.

Ted

I almost didn't go to see this film based on this bad review, but I'm glad I did see it - it's a wonderful, intelligent film with great performances, beautfully framed, packed with powerful moments, gazes, glances. I feel bad that the TONY reviewer saw an entirely different film - and I feel bad that because of a bad review, some people might make the mistake that I almost made.

Dougal

A smart, tough, wonderfully understanding movie with a plot that works and actors who do the same. Richard Jenkins, late of "Six Feet Under," is a joy to watch; you can watch his face, his posture, his movements change as he comes out of the professorial shell he's locked himself into. A very American movie, in the best sense of the phrase.

Dougal

A smart, tough, wonderfully understanding movie with a plot that works and actors who do the same. Richard Jenkins, late of "Six Feet Under," is a joy to watch; you can watch his face, his posture, his movements change as he comes out of the professorial shell he's locked himself into. A very American movie, in the best sense of the phrase.