The Visitor - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Visitor Reviews

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September 21, 2016
Completely successful film on every front. Soulful direction, Jenkins' central performance mesmerising, screenplay with depth, score including the drumming perfect.
This movie is 8 years old yet the situation in Syria is worse now. And with America's policy towards refugees changing possibly for the worse, the film has more impact now than when it was made.
September 3, 2016
This film is so unbelievable relevant to the present day; when so many people are living lives of fear and displacement, helpless and without proper support, It pains me so much to think of the number of people who's lives are shattered by war and whom are not supported as they should be. It is portrayed with such honesty and tenderness, really beautiful and ful of sorrow....well worth watching!!
July 26, 2016
This is the worst movie I've ever seen. So incredibly boring. Let me save you a couple hours of your life: A bored and lonely man meets some people, the end. You're welcome.
½ May 2, 2016
For a lonely professor grieving the loss of his beloved wife (not to mention his dwindling passion for life), benevolence --as a response to his existential crises-- proves a viable cure when he discovers a young immigrant couple living in his inner city apartment and allows them to continue inhabiting the residence. 62-year old Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins gives a stellar performance here) may seem boring beyond repair at first, but with each heartwarming moment he spends with Tarek, Zainab, and Tarek's mother, Mouna, you discover there is still some spark to him yet. I particularly enjoyed when Tarek teaches Walter how to play the drums! "The Visitor" is a beautiful commentary on compassion, humanism, ethnology, identity, cross-cultural communication, immigration, and the human condition in a post-9/11 America.

A warning: if you are not in the mood for an emotional independent drama with a spice of romance (although it does a wonderful job pulling you in as it develops), you may find the film too sentimental and even a bit boring, as it drags a little, especially in the beginning. This is definitely a film to watch when you want to be reminded of the goodness in others.

B [75%]
½ April 10, 2016
The Visitor is directed and written by Tom McCarthy, and it stars Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, and Danai Gurira in a drama film about a teacher who has nothing going in his life, and when he went back to New York to present the paper that he co-wrote and to his old apartment, there were two people who are already living there. They leave the house, but the teacher tells them that they can stay, and there's going to be more issues running ahead of their lives. So after 4 years from The Station Agent, Tom McCarthy made The Visitor, and this film is another solid effort from him that he might be one of the most interesting indie directors in my opinion, although I'll probably be hurting my words when I go watch The Cobbler which I heard that it wasn't good at all. Richard Jenkins gives a great performance as a lonely guy, and would probably want to be alone at times. Haaz Sleiman in his first main role is really good, and Danai Gurira in her first acting role in a film is also really good that I'm glad that she went from this, to The Walking Dead. There are a lot of heartfelt moments that got me more emotionally invested as the characters are well developed thanks to a well written script by Tom McCarthy. There are some funny moments in it, but for the most of it, it's all serious, and consider that the film has to deal with immigration during post 9/11, it's for the best for the tone of it. The only problem with the film that I saw, is that when I know what the plot is about, I had a feeling that I knew where it was going, and it does, which for some I think that it was because that's how the world works, and some of the events in the beginning, although there are some in here that I actually didn't see coming, even though I should've, given with some hints in there. In the end, Tom McCarthy's The Visitor is a really great film that Tom McCarthy really knows how to make great films that turn him into a humanist, and when I get the time, I'll watch The Cobbler to see whether people are right about that film being a huge stinker.
February 17, 2016
Richard Jenkins is easily the best part of a very good movie, which sees an unhappy and bitter American professor become unlikely friends with an illegal immigrant street drummer and his ethnic jeweler girlfriend. Jenkins and Sleiman are magnetic as the two pals, with Jenkins proving to be incredible at portraying an unassuming everyday man. My only criticism is the brevity; a movie is insufficient at elaborating the entire beauty of the relationship between the two friends, and I wanted to see more of that.
February 14, 2016
Compassionate and wise. A sane voice in the post 9/11 era and as necessary a movie now as ever.
February 6, 2016
A great movie. Heartfelt and smart. Like an onion with many layers to peel away.
November 15, 2015
We saw this at about the same time as Under the Same Moon. Both helped to put a face on illegal immigrants.
October 13, 2015
Refreshingly honest assessment of today's process for foreigners to become citizens in a post 9/11 age. They make you wait for decads and jump through legal loops and loopholes just to become a citizen.

For those who can not wait, due to their country's wars, poverty, genocide, or what have you, you come to America anyways and hope you don't get deported. America, after all, is the land of the free. It is a melting pot of mixed cultures that makes us the U.S of A. Without the ethnecity, America would be pretty boring. Hamburgers and more Hamburgers. So why do we make it impossible for people to become citizens? Crowd control has a lot to do with it.

But this movie shines light on an often debated topic, but with a true human story to drive the point home. It's an emotional rollercoaster.. Donald Trump should watch this movie, and maybe his heart will grow 10x bigger. Or perhaps, he will have a heart attack out of outrage.
October 12, 2015
I didn't know what to expect with this movie. I got it because it was critically praised and nominated for an Oscar, and it delivers. It has a great story, great performances and you feel for every character in this movie and especially for Richard Jenkins character. It is a great unlikely-friendship movie that will make you smile.
½ September 22, 2015
"The Visitor" is the kind of story that make you reconcile with the life and to think that there is hope. Great performances especially from Richard Jenkins as the old widower who has lost passion for life and work and recovers it in his relation with a young couple of illegal aliens. No happy ending.
½ July 26, 2015
Interesting film. At first you think you'll just about die of boredom, but as it goes along, it's actually really good! "Walter" is a widower & econ profession who stumbled upon this couple squatting at his apartment in the city. One of them is a Syrian immigrant who gets detained, even though he didn't do anything wrong. Walter does what he can to help him & his wife. It shines a light on how difficult it is for some immigrants to live the American dream when everyone thinks you're a terrorist. It truly is an excellent film! Not much to look for in terms of action, but the dialogue & themes were great! I wasn't bored at all.
½ July 13, 2015
With Richard Jenkins' leading performance scoring him an Academy Award nomination, The Visitor sounded like a great chance to see his acting skills in full gear.

I had to re-examine many of the events that occured in The Visitor over and over in my head until I came to the realization of just what they were saying. As the drama in the film is extremely subtle without adhering to typical Hollywood dramatization conventions, the themes are all in the subtext without being explicit. One of the most key themes is the concept of a Post-9/11 New York Ciy which is xenophobic, a reflection of the painful reality that many minorities must face every day. This does not reasonate with me so much because I am not a minority, nor do I live in America where 9/11 is a morning alarm for Fox News and a memory supporting the war on terror. As a result, the themes do not resonate with me as much as they would with an audience who has to face these feelings on a daily basis. By that rationale, The Visitor was not a film I found interpellation with and so connecting to it proved somewhat challenging as I could only embrace certain themes during the experience. But at the same time, as the film is such a gentle feature, it ends up being slow paced and extremely subtle in its drama. As a result, it can be rather dull at times. Frankly, the only real connection I found to the film came from my genuine sense of sympathy for the lonely male protagonist because that is a feeling I am all too familiar with, albeit not to the extent that Walter Vale experienced it in the narrative. Yet the same way that Walter Vale is an every man, this is a feeling we have all felt and it is one I have seen in many films.
The fact is that, for better and for worse, The Visitor is bereft of so many Hollywood conventions which make it stand out in one regard but forgettable in another. The distinctive lack of dramatization makes the story feel genuine and touching, but at the same time it means that the dramatic effect of the film is limited. And like I said, the themes do not resonate with me too heavily and so the ultimate effect of the film is severly limited. What I appreciated more about The Visitor was its genuine intentions from director Thomas McCarthy and the leading performance from Richard Jenkins more than anything else. I was touched by some of the sentiments which meant that I found myself sporadically entertained, but as a whole I found that the film was so subtle that it had a tendency to drag on a bit while I was caught up behind it. But I did find value in the utmost simplicity of the film.
Despite its slow nature, I admired the fact that The Visitor wanted to be a touching film about characters and genuine issues. The screenplay contains dialogue which encourages the viewers to confront real issues and is written with a real sense of natural language about it as well, so the reality of the film becomes clearer with every character even if the genuine entertainment value is not as consistent. And the simplicity of the story is elevated further as a result of the limited amount of locations used in the film since they manage to emphasize the naturally beautiful or grim nature of the New York streets and therefore reinforcing the underlying themes while making the story feel all the more genuine.
And with such a sense of naturalism surrounding the film, The Visitor is able to bring the best talents out of its cast.
Richard Jenkins' performance is largely the best reason to see The Visitor. Richard Jenkins was cast largely on the basis of his "amazing and wonderful everyman quality" by Thomas McCarthy, and that is all too clear in The Visitor because he himself is a great irony. By that I mean he is an actor who is iconic for his everyman nature, and those two prospects should be contradictory. But with Richard Jenkins, they live side by side. Richard Jenkins' performance is a thoroughly gentle one with restrained drama about it, matching the tone of the rest of the film and making his character all the more realistic and therefore sympathetic in the process. He holds himself back and brings audiences to him with a gentle approach to all the subject matter, as well as a genuine sense of human development that goes on between him and the characters around him. Richard Jenkins carries The Visitor on his frail shoulders and delivers an understated performance which is perhaps his greatest to date, proving that he has the skill to lead a film very well and bringing the talents of Haaz Sleiman and Danai Gurira up with him.
Haaz Sleiman is memorable for his appearance in The Visitor. Easily conveying a similar everyman status, Danai Gurira captures a gentle and friendly character whose foreign nature makes him a character of intrigue while his naturally likable persona makes him a sympathetic figure. Haaz Sleiman has a distinctive charm about himself and is far more extroverted than Richard Jenkins which ensures that he makes an impact on the story without having to hit viewers over the head with a reminder of his presence, rather letting his natural charm flourish in the part. Haaz Sleiman has a lot of charismatic energy in The Visitor, and he balances that with natural dramatic sophistication.
The supporting efforts of Danai Gurira and Hiam Abbass are also rich with dramatic flair.

So The Visitor is a film with a powerful cast and an admirable sense of simplicity, though it is not the easiest film to connect to while the slow pace and extremely subtle nature of the themes mean that it is lacking in consistent dramatic flair.
½ March 22, 2015
Tositapahtumiin perustuva ja vähäeleinen elokuva monikulttuurisuudesta. Katsomisen arvoinen!
½ February 27, 2015
King of under-acting Richard Jenkins is key to this sweet, yet important drama about a lonely middle aged man who does all he can to help two illegal immigrants. It would be easy to make something like this nothing more than a TV movie, but thankfully this takes on an important issue in a manner in which by all accounts makes logical sense and isn't just simply going for the easier to hit targets. Jenkins' character from the start isn't a blind do-gooder, or a somewhat mean guy who turns good for the sake of a cheap narrative. Instead he's fairly consistent and you understand, and more importantly you actually believe that this person would actually commit the beyond kind things that he does because you know exactly how he feels at that current stage in his life. This might have suited a short more than a full length picture, but it's still a good, worthwhile watch that managers to draw out sensitive issues without being preachy or sanctimonious.
February 17, 2015
It's a movie you will always remember after you see it.
January 30, 2015
had to quit this film it was too boring ugh
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2015
A drama movie with a very slow paced story. The only reason i watched this was because this is the only movie i had left to see from this year 2009 Oscar nominated flicks. Richard Jenkins stood for that part and he did a nice role actually. But the performances were only that kept me interesting enough to watch this flick. Its not a bad story but i expected more i guess. If you want a good different drama you may like it.
November 5, 2014
This is such a good movie - I love it every time!! Watching each character open up and change throughout the movie is a delight -- the music is just as important too!
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