The Visitor (Tom McCarthy, 2008) USA

Reviewed by Joel Pedersen. Viewed at Santa Barbara Film Festival.

All it takes is one big hardship for us all to lose ourselves. We may become depressed and mad at life itself. We become blind to when life and opportunity are passing by. We avoid contact with all humans out of fear that they do may do something to hurt our emotionally state. When really all we need is someone to get us on the right track. This is the case in The Visitor, directed by Thomas Mccarthy. Walter (Rishard Jenkins) is a very confined and insecure little man. But hope is never lost. Especially when you have a set of drums and a friendly man by the name of Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) by your side.

The film starts off with Walter, in the safety of his own home, being condemned with a fail of a piano lesson. After firing yet another piano teacher, he decides that no matter how hard he trys the piano is sadly just not for him. After returning to work as a professor he is told that he must present something in New York. Explaining how it is not his work and that he only cosigned it and how he is working very hard on his book (which has yet to be started), he can not get out of going to New york. Afraid of not being prepared to present that soon becomes the least of his worries. Upon entering his neglected apartment in New York, he finds that it is no longer empty but inhabited by a illegal immigrant couple.

Not having the heart to kick them out on the streets he allows them to stay until they can find another place for themselves. In the meantime he has to deal with his conferences and such while knowing that when he returns he will not be sleeping alone like he is accustomed to. Soon realising that the girlfriend Zainab (Danai Gurira) sells lanyards from a both on the side of the street and that the boyfriend plays African drums. Walter can not help but be involved in their life’s more then just a place to stay. Tarek notices Walters secret love of music and soon has him playing the drums like a pro.

This film was quite sad but good. Walter falling in love with Tareks mom just adds more involvement and compassion trough out the film. Also pointing out how unfair our immigration system can be really makes you think about how many people friend and family have been affected by the matter. Never knowing weather or not the inmates are going to be deported the within the next months or few days adds to the stress considerably.

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