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
According to the DVD's interviews of both Tom McCarthy and Richard Jenkins, Walter's change of glasses scene (which reveals his change of feelings for Mouna) was Richard Jenkins's idea. See more »
In New York airport, the flight was announced as "flight to Syria", although it should actually name the airport (Damascus), not the country. But more importantly, there is no direct non-stop flight from New York to Syria. See more »
I don't mean to be the only voice of cynicism but . . .
I loved THE STATION AGENT, I mean that is a fantastic, tight little movie. Thoughtful, paced well, bitter-sweet, colorful characters and a real story.
THE VISITOR was a movie I was prepared to love, but its not that great. In fact, I would venture to say its a little preachy. There are moments in which the characters are living the moment, and then they will break out some stale monologue that doesn't quite match the organic dialogue its spoiling.
Even though I am all for loosening immigration laws, and accepting interracial relationships, I just didn't feel like I needed the pan up to the American flag, or the 'How is this different than Syria' or the 'He didn't do anything wrong' Why Why Why Why Why . . . we got it covered, oh-the-injustice. Do we have to continually remind the audiences that our country is flawed and xenophobic? I noticed a similar heavy-handedness in STOP-LOSS with an equally talented director. I have concluded that good filmmakers should not tell stories when they are angry, because it seeps into characters, the landscape and the narrative like red ink.
OK but not great.
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