The Visitor is one of my favorite movies. The acting is brilliant. This is Richard Jenkins’ first lead role, and I am confident we will be seeing more of him. The rest of the cast did a great job as well.
The Visitor is a simmering drama about a college professor and recent widower, Walter Vale (Jenkins), who discovers a pair of homeless, illegal aliens living in his New York apartment. After the mix-up is resolved, Vale invites the couple–a young, Syrian musician named Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend (Danai Gurira–to stay with him. An unlikely friendship develops between the retiring, quiet Vale and the vital Tarek, and the former begins to loosen up and respond to Tareks drumming lessons as if something in him waiting to be liberated has finally arrived. All goes well until Tarek is hauled in by immigration authorities and threatened with deportation. His mother, Mouna (Hiam Abbass), turns up and stays with Vale, sparking a renewed if subdued interest in courtship. But the wheels of injustice in immigration crush all manner of hopes in post-9/11 America. Vale soon realizes his unexpected capacity for anger over Tareks plight, and the positive changes to his personal life that emerged from a deep involvement with his friend and Mouna, might be the only legacy he takes from this experience.