Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Visitor - movie review

Tom McCarthy's The Visitor is a gem, a tribute to the power of understatement. It is the story of Walter Vale, a professor who has withdrawn from life to the point of being almost catatonic. When he finds his seldom-used New York City apartment inhaibited by a young immigrant couple, victims of a con artist who rented it out to them, he takes pity on them and allows them to stay. The young man, Tarek, is everything Walter is not: vibrant, passionate, full of enthusiasm and energy. They connect through their love of music and Walter is, bit by bit, drawn back into life. And then disaster strikes.

Richard Jenkins and Haaz Sleiman
This is a subtle and immensely moving story, told with restraint and dignity. Even the simplest of gestures resonates. Actors Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Hiam Abbass, and Danai Gurira never strike a false note, conveying powerful emotions without sliding into melodrama. The social commentary of the last part of the story is obvious, but it doesn't run away with the movie, leaving it primarily a story about the characters.

If Hollywood could make a habit of producing movies of this quality, I would be in movie theatres more often. I will probably buy the DVD when it comes out, as this is a film I will be happy to see many times.

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gary said...

Sadly, I have not even heard of this one. I'm glad you posted. It sounds like it would be a good one.

(Hope you're well, International Woman of Mystery). :-)

Janet said...

The International Woman of Mystery has been better. Hopefully, I'll be harassing all my online friends again soon.

I suspect this movie will be considered for an Oscar or two, although it probably won't win.

gary said...

I'm sorry to hear that. Have you been under the weather?

In any case, I hope things get better for you soon.

Janet said...

Just good old-fashioned back pain. This is the first time I've had to deal with it several days in a row though. My poor husband had to resort to cooking... ;o)

amba said...

Off topic: You been tagged.

ORION said...

oh I'll have to see this. BTW I DID think of you when I titled my post about the oysters!!

Janet said...


Now I want to see Wall-E.


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