7.6/10
41,142
171 user 233 critic

The Visitor (2007)

PG-13 | | Drama | 23 May 2008 (USA)
Trailer
2:28 | Trailer
A college professor travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple living in his apartment.

Director:

Tom McCarthy

Writer:

Tom McCarthy
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Jenkins ... Walter
Haaz Sleiman ... Tarek
Danai Gurira ... Zainab
Hiam Abbass ... Mouna
Marian Seldes ... Barbara
Maggie Moore Maggie Moore ... Karen
Michael Cumpsty ... Charles
Bill McHenry Bill McHenry ... Darin
Richard Kind ... Jacob
Tzahi Moskovitz ... Zev
Amir Arison ... Mr. Shah
Neal Lerner ... Martin Revere
Ramon Fernandez ... Cop #1
Frank Pando ... Cop #2
Waleed Zuaiter ... Omar
Learn more

More Like This 

Win Win (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach's chicanery comes back to haunt him when the teenage grandson of the client he has double-crossed comes into his life.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When his only friend dies, a man born with dwarfism moves to rural New Jersey to live a life of solitude, only to meet a chatty hot dog vendor and a woman dealing with her own personal loss.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale
Frozen River (2008)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A mom looks for another source of income, when her husband leaves with the money meant for the new mobile home. A nearby Indian territory stretches across the border to Canada with a drivable frozen river between. Smuggling?

Director: Courtney Hunt
Stars: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott
Inheritance I (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

As a new conflict opposes Israel and Lebanon, Hajar, a young Palestinian student, returns to her native village in Galilee on the occasion of a wedding in the family. Just before the ... See full summary »

Director: Hiam Abbass
Stars: Hafsia Herzi, Hiam Abbass, Yussuf Abu-Warda
The Cobbler (2014)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A cobbler, bored of his everyday life, stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to become other people and see the world in a different way.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Adam Sandler, Melonie Diaz, Steve Buscemi
In America (2002)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A family of Irish immigrants adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child.

Director: Jim Sheridan
Stars: Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Djimon Hounsou
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A single mother's life is thrown into turmoil after her struggling, rarely seen younger brother returns to town.

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Stars: Laura Linney, Matthew Broderick, Amy Ryan
The Savages (2007)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father.

Director: Tamara Jenkins
Stars: Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco
The Visitor (1979)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

The soul of a young girl with telekinetic powers becomes the prize in a fight between forces of God and the Devil.

Director: Giulio Paradisi
Stars: Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen
The Visitor III (2002)
Short | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Michael, at his beach-home in Australia, is avoiding phone calls regarding his dear lifelong friend and former lover of two-years Chris who is dying back in Boston, America. While trying to... See full summary »

Director: Dan Castle
Stars: Barry Otto, Nick Carpenter, Grant Dodwell
Drama

Plot details being kept under wraps.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Crime | Drama

John contacts host Brian Reed to have him investigate a supposed murder by the son of a wealthy family in his hometown, which he openly despises.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

connection is everything See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

The color scheme for the street signs for all areas of NYC was standardized in the mid '90's. All street signs in NYC are now green/white, regardless of location. See more »

Quotes

Prof. Walter Vale: I've been teaching the same course for 20 years, and it doesn't mean anything to me. None of it does. I pretend. I pretend that I'm busy, that I'm working, that I'm writing. I'm not doing anything.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Baldwin's L2 grand piano See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Ha Dias
Written by Luca Mundaca
Performed by Luca Mundaca
Courtesy of Putumayo World Music/Lumeni Productions
See more »

User Reviews

 
Charming, character driven drama
2 April 2008 | by movieman430See all my reviews

Thomas McCarthy's second film, after the charming Station Agent, is a quiet, hard look at several different aspects of humanity. The Visitor centers on Walter Vale, masterfully portrayed by Richard Jenkins. A solemn economics teacher, he spends his time pretending to write on his book and learn piano. Walter finds himself in New York on business and runs into two illegal immigrants, Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and Zainab (Danai Jekesai Gurira who were tricked into renting his apartment. Tarek and Walter strike up an unusual friendship when Tarek begins to teach Walter how to play the drums. This is interrupted by Tarek's arrest and detention while it is decided whether he will be deported or not. Soon Walter is joined by Tarek's mother Mouna.

The Visitor is a wonderful piece that brings together some of the best performances I have seen this year. McCarthy disarms us with wry humor, quiet wit, and a meditative pace and before we know it we've found ourselves immersed. When the credits have rolled, however, it's not so much the plot that stays with us as the characters. The most perplexing and fascinating character is Walter Vale. The transformation undergone by his character is done perfectly, the changes are noticeable but not intrusive. Tarek and Zainab who have only a handful of scenes together, manage to share incredible chemistry. Hiam Abbass, as Tarek's mother, deepens the connection between the characters, almost filling in the cracks to complete a whole.

At first glance, the Visitor seems political in nature. Thomas McCarthy has actually said that was not true, the deportation aspect of the film actually came into the script later in the process. The Visitor, instead of political aspirations, merely seeks to show us that anyone can change your life and that change is all around us and is indeed a good thing.

In the end, Thomas McCarthy succeeds in bringing capturing the humor, tragedy, and change of the human experience in his new film. Brought to life by incredibly stirring performances, particularly Richard Jenkins, the Visitor is the most emotionally powerful film to light up the big screen in a while.


92 of 117 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 171 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Arabic | Romanian

Release Date:

23 May 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Visitor See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$86,488, 13 April 2008

Gross USA:

$9,427,089

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,197,518
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.



Recently Viewed