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The Visitor (I) (2007)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  23 May 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 36,009 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 167 user | 227 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

A college professor travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple living in his apartment.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maggie Moore ...
Michael Cumpsty ...
Bill McHenry ...
Tzahi Moskovitz ...
Mr. Shah
Neal Lerner ...
Martin Revere
Cop #1
Cop #2


In Connecticut, lonely widowed Professor Walter Vale has a boring life. He teaches only one class at the local college and is trying to learn how to play the piano, despite not having the necessary musical talent. Walter is assigned to attend a conference about Global Policy and Development at New York University, where he is to give a lecture about a paper on which he is co-author. When he arrives at his apartment in New York, he finds Tarek Khalil, a Syrian musician, and Zainab, a Senegalese street vendor, living there. He sympathizes with the situation of the illegal immigrants and invites the couple to stay with him. Tarek invites him to go to his gig at Jules Live Jazz. Walter is fascinated with his African drum and Tarek offers to teach Walter to play the drum. However, after an incident in the subway, Tarek is arrested by the police and sent to a detention center for illegal immigrants. Walter has just hired a lawyer to defend Tarek when, out of the blue, Tarek's mother Mouna ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Connection is everything See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

23 May 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Visitante  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$86,488 (USA) (11 April 2008)


$9,422,422 (USA) (3 October 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The parking lot in which Walter parks his car after arriving in New York - on East 11th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue - was torn down shortly after the film was released. See more »


While there is no W 115 St in Queens, there are streets in Queens prefaced by E and W (East and West). The southern end of Cross Bay Blvd, in Zip Code 11693, there are about 20 streets that are prefaced E or W. See more »


Tarek Khalil: Oh shit! We have to get home! Zainab's gonna kill me, I'm on Arab time again.
Prof. Walter Vale: What is "Arab time"?
Tarek Khalil: It means I'm late by an hour. All Arabs are late by an hour, it's genetic, we can't help it.
See more »


Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.9 (2011) See more »


Darius Blues
Written by Bill McHenry (BMI)
Performed by Bill McHenry, Nic Thys, Haaz Sleiman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

You know a movie is good when you don't want it to end.
10 April 2008 | by (San Diego, CA) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at Sundance (along with about twenty others). It was the only film I screened that ended with a standing ovation. The accolade was well-deserved. Richard Jenkins completely inhabits the professor, Walter Vale, unmoored by the death of his wife. Drifting, without purpose, grinding through his days, he thinks his life is over -- he is just taking up space. But when that space is invaded by a vibrant couple, Walter has an epiphany.

Richard Jenkins is not the only actor of note in this cast. Everyone is pitch-perfect. But particularly be on the lookout for Hiam Abbass. Every time she is on the screen is a delight. This is one of those rare films that you really do not want to end.

It would be easy to pigeon-hole this film as a topical drama dealing with an uncaring government system. But this film transcends all that. Instead it is a heartfelt film about what happens when people -- with all their desires and difficulties -- bump into one another to express the best part of their humanity. If this is the kind of movie you would like to see made more frequently in Hollywood, vote with your wallet this weekend, then go again and take some friends.

137 of 166 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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