The Visitor (2007) - Drama

Hohum Score



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

IMDB: 7.6
Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman
Length: 104 Minutes
PG Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 39 out of 170 found boring (22.94%)

One-line Reviews (141)

The slow awakening of Walter occurs when he decides to befriend and help the couple.

Some movie's use slow pacing to build suspense.

The most perplexing and fascinating character is Walter Vale.

If the viewer can tolerate the film's slow pace, the character study and the attendant political themes can encourage a serious re-evaluation of some of our long-held assumptions and deep beliefs about "foreigners" whom we don't really know.

We're given stereotypical reasons why they wanted to leave their homelands (i.

The Visitor is never dull, consistent in its tone and a thoroughly engaging feature.

The transformation process is conveyed through his unexpected friendship with a Syrian immigrant musician named Tarek.

Sadly, it is a mediocre movie: It progresses at a snail's pace and the ending is very unsatisfying.

Now The Station Agent was a really good film in all aspects except for the fact it was mind numbingly boring, The Visitor is just like The Station Agent minus the boringness.

Don't waste your money or your free Redbox promo!

Just know before you rent this that it is first & foremost a political propaganda, guilty white American film.

Minuses: The film starts on a slow note.

If not, there's certainly a need for plenty more little films like this one to surprise us with how poignant the mundane can be.

By doing so, The Visitor sacrifices verisimilitude for propaganda and a skewed sense of reality.

However, the remaining 2/3rds of the movie gets bogged down in problems illegals have with the immigration system and the movie becomes extremely boring from this point on.

Walter admits that his life has been uneventful during the past 20 years.

During an unexpected trip to New York this will begin to change.

Private, dignified, stunning in her grace.

Awful, heavy handed political propaganda .

As he opens the door of his Manhattan apartment, another gift by the city that kept the rent low enough for him to leave empty for the few times he used it, he was surprised to find it had been illegally rented to a couple, immigrants born into a world of fear and hunger.

Then, while in New York for a conference, Walter (that's his name) goes to his supposedly empty apartment and finds out it's occupied by a Syrian immigrant, Tarek (Haaz Sleiman), and his girlfriend Zainab (Danai Gurira).

Writer-Director Thomas McCarthy, whose first film "The Station Agent" was also a brilliant take on unexpected friendships, continues to develop and orchestrate poignant tales on amity & camaraderie between opposite humanoids with "The Visitor".

Grieving for his wife's death while he constantly looks to fill an empty void.

If the intent was to make it boring as a reflection of the protagonist's life, it was resoundingly successful.

He here plays Walter, a widowed college lecturer who has settled into his a mundane routine as his twilight years beckon.

The only thing that could be considered cliché about the film is its use of an awkward, lonely protagonist and his unlikely relationship with the Assyrian man named Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) that he eventually invites to live with him.

When Mouna (played very well by Hiam Abbass) shows up in New York (she's also an illegal immigrant living in Michigan) she and Walter begin a friendship that teeters on the edge of a romance that lasts until she has to return to Syria to help Tarek once he's deported despite Walter's efforts to help.

Jenkins captures his hopelessness well, but Walter is basically a very boring character.

The beginning is slow, trying to give you a good feel about how boring the main character's life is.

It is a riveting drama about the struggle men and women to find asylum from the set roles which their life has determined for them.

The visuals feel a bit bland and with the exception of the final scene the film has pretty standard cinematography for an independent film.

There's nothing preachy about McCarthy's tale - a widowed professor (Richard Jenkins) befriending two illegal immigrants in his New York apartment and slowly finding his quiet, rather uneventful life having a purpose.

"Connection is everything" A lonesome widower and college economics professor finds his mundane existence suddenly shaken up when he befriends a pair of illegal immigrants, one of whom has recently been threatened with deportation by U.

Slow bits aside, The Visitor is a rewarding film with rich characters, beautiful acting and complexities that might make those people who are quick to tears, cry.

In short an over paid and way under worked professor finds something in his otherwise, banal and emotionally empty existence.

The engaging and charismatic quality Haaz Sleiman brings to the part of Tarek is crucial in making us understand just how it is that Walter is willing to go to bat for a man he has known for only a few days (and how refreshing it is to have an Arab character who is NOT an actual terrorist for a change!

Though most important it is thru this meeting of new people from a different culture that changed Walter making him rediscover life and look at it from a different perspective as he's rediscovered to have a new rhythm of life as he can march to the beat of a different sound by discovering unexpected friends in unexpected places.

It lingers like a slow European character study with only one climactic moment when circumstances change everything.

The professor was an unhappy man at first, but the unexpected encounters really changed who he was.

" he makes the film a lot duller than it should be.

So many scenes start in an amazingly predictable way...

They are a young couple who live life to it's absolute fullest , while traveling on a near empty tank of gas.

With the situation in Syria still continuing these many years after the film was made and America's policy towards refugees tightening, the film's impact now is even more intensive.

This astonishingly compelling little film, written and directed by Thomas McCarthy, is a subtle and clever portrayal of an introverted University professor, who after being bereaved of his wife seems to have completely abandoned all passion and genuine joy in life.

McCarthy's Small Film Shows Passion Can Be Found in the Most Unexpected Places .

In this film, he plays a bored college professor and widower.

What happens next is unexpected, interesting and poignant.

Mouna,Tarek's mother (Abbass), arrives from Michigan and the slow love that develops between her and Walter is one of the best and most restrained portrayal of love I have ever seen on film.

Alright, alright, sorry it boring reviewing a film you like.

At one point I thought the script would become contrived and Mom would fall in love with, Walter, the sad eyed professor with no life.

This exciting instrument becomes a motif on which the entire movie anchors.

Jenkins and the rest of the cast are good, but I was always on the edge of my seat waiting for Tarek to appear again.

"The Vistor" certainly isn't a masterpiece yet, it's message and theme of finding happiness in unexpected places makes it a must see for anyone who likes a sentimental favorite type.

Resorting to cliché, I'd say that as the event unfold, we came to know and care for the characters.

When a director can make a boring and solitary man look human and caring then you have made a real gem.

compelling friendship .

This is a film about a college professor bored with his robotic , mundane lesson plans that are identical year after year.

Jenkins, as Prof. Walter Vale, is a very dull, uncaring individual who has taught for 20 years.

bland, is going to make you happy is ridiculous.

Untill he accidentally gets involved in the lives of 2 illegal immigrants who fire up his life in unexpected ways.

Nothing happens in his life.

This small masterpiece's larger scenes are perceptive and respectively exciting, profound and joyous.

The movie is slow paced with long silent scenes where all you hear are "natural sounds", and tries to be profound and "thoughtful".

THE VISITOR follows Walter as he begrudgingly makes his way from his cushy comfort zone in Connecticut to his longtime empty New York City apartment.

When Connecticut professor Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins) goes to stay in his long-empty New York apartment, he is surprised to find a young couple living in it.

In particular, Sleiman conveys his character with a charm that's unexpected in a film like this, winning over the jaded and dispirited Walter Vale (Jenkins), especially in the musical sequences that turn Walter into a functioning human being once again.

She also begins to free Walter up, though in a far from cliché fashion.

"Talk about NOTHING happening in a movie.

This is a heavy handed sledgehammer of political propaganda.

ZZZZZzzzzzzz .

I thought the scenes where Walter learns to play the djembe were beautifully played; Walter's awkward but curious initiation to drumming and the (unexpected) expression of pure joy on his face while playing added believable depth to an otherwise restrained and austere performance.

The story is really one of the most intelligent and engrossing in recent years and much of it's effectiveness is due to Jenkins.

Walter hires a lawyer to defend Tarek and out of the blue, Tarek's mother Mouna Khalil (Hiam Abbass) appears in Walter's apartment coming from Michigan; he invites her to stay in Tarek's room and while trying to release Tarek, Walter and Mouna get close to each other and he finds a reason to live an exciting life again.

In Connecticut, the widower and lonely Professor Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins) has a boring life teaching for one class only in the college and trying to learn how to play piano despite not having the necessary musical talent.

While initially put-off and skeptical about the dwellers--a Syrian Bohemian musician and his African(I forget the country of origin)girlfriend who designs--he develops a bond with them as they fill a void in his erstwhile empty and solitary life.

A meek economics professor (a likable but uninteresting Richard Jenkins) goes to New York City for a conference only to find an illegal immigrant couple has been living in his apartment for two months.

He is going nowhere.

forces Walter out of the "ivory tower" into Manhattan, where with the help of his unexpected guide, Tarek Khalil, he faces the past, present, and future.

As for the acting,Jenkins knocked my socks off,the character was so well conceived and played,the middle-aged white intellectual with an empty life.

This is not a story of incredible originality,we all know that money doesn't bring happiness, but it is done in such a precise and absorbing way, that grabs us from the first moment.

"The Vistor" is more than just an issue film of illegal immigration, it's likable for it's story of unexpected happiness that an unlikely character experiences by discovering the people he meets from another culture, as the time he spends with them transforms his life.

The film is slow, the acting too stiff, the dialogs silly and superfluous.

There are beautiful scenes sometimes drawn out to boredom.

McCarthy disarms us with wry humor, quiet wit, and a meditative pace and before we know it we've found ourselves immersed.

Also, while Indie-films often transcend formula, 'The Visitor' was rather predictable.

Unpredictability, in my estimation, can be an entertaining gimmick.

I admire Thomas McCarthy for making a film about illegal immigration, but this movie was boring.

Disjunct collection of uneventful pictures .

He is jolted back to the land of living through an unexpected confrontation with an illegal alien couple well played by Haaz Sleiman and Danai Jekesia Guirira.

But then queasiness set in when it became apparent that this was looking more and more like another propaganda piece for a left-wing platform.

But that would have dragged it down a few notches.

Open-borders Propaganda .

Still, when one tries to expound realism in their art they risk becoming dull or worse preachy.

'The Visitor' is keen to debunk the cliché: its protagonists are mild, utterly American, not apparently poor, somewhat separate from their own communities and would be at home at any middle-class dinner table.

A genuinely unexpected gem.

It is easy to understand how Jenkins is so drawn to Sleiman's engaging, charismatic, energetic, drum playing Tariq.

An aged, listless academic, whose wife died earlier, floats through his uninteresting life until something happens to jar him.

He tells such boring sounding tales in fantastic thought provoking excellent storytelling to physically making my smile and care for these characters.

Nonetheless, I did want to see it to the end because of a partly intriguing development of a love story.

But with this new, exciting development in his life, he is able to live for something, do something meaningful to him once again.

They can turn a mundane dinner into something rich and incredibly rewarding.

What could have been a potentially sad or happy closure, actually ended with confusion and angst.

This was just dull.

Once these characters come into Walter's world, the slow, graceful, tranquil beat of classical music is shaken awake by the fervent, noisy, vibrant drums.

In the wrong hands, the story could easily have become a heavily political piece, an immigration-related propaganda reel.

You can tell by the title credits' elevator music and the opening scene that this will be a slow and plodding film.

This really was one of the worst movies that I have ever seen, and I am truly glad that I did not pay any money for it (thanks to a Redbox promo code).

So it's by chance encounter upon a trip to New York City for a conference of professors, he returns to his old apartment and he makes a very unexpected discover that will change his life forever.

Probably too slow for many theater audiences,this film is a definite renter and should get some consideration come time for awards.

I want to know when the edict was passed that decreed in order for a movie to "work" or to be considered worth watching, the primary criterion was established that it is not permitted to be predictable?

The movie is tiresome and preachy and, worst of all, dull.

Watching Jenkins connect with this guy through drum playing is just fascinating.

Writer/director Tom McCarthy's movie is worth watching for two reasons: the fine treatment of human relationships and Richard Jenkins' performance.

Richard Jenkins is such a good actor and he really plays Walter with an evocative isolation that is palpable.

Together with a fascinating, rich and very interesting plot all this made The Visitor on of the best films of 2008.

Yes, there are many fine films out there that feature unpredictable plots.

One does have to acknowledge that most of the acting is very engaging and the film poignant and charming.

If you are not a bigot, the film will not teach you anything new, but may bore you to death.

In an effort to fill the empty void that his life has become, Walter makes a half-hearted attempt to learn to play classical piano.

Very good movie, little action but compelling story-telling.

If we are made to believe that the apathetic demeanor of Jenkins' character sufficiently explains his disinterest, I still want to receive the basic information that will clarify this intriguing situation and make it plausible.

It's an unexpected trip plagued with unexpected events, because it's not every day that an old professor finds two illegal immigrants in his apartment, and it's not every day that someone like Walter decides to let them stay with him instead of kicking them out.

The main character is so bland and uninteresting.

This is in stark comparison to the manner in which American writer/director Thomas McCarthy paints the image of supporting Americans in the film, predominantly, authoritarian officials in the form of subway police officers or detention centre clerks whom are controversially given a bland; robotic; soulless set of characteristics.

Next thing he knows, he's fully immersed in learning how to play it and develops a closer bond with the couple.

McCarthy is an incredibly talented writer and filmmaker and with "The Visitor," he handles an important social issue with understatement, grace and honesty that make the story all the more compelling and trenchant.

Absorbing and wonderful slice-of-life dramedy about a complacent widowed academic (character actor Jenkins in an Oscar-worthy turn; a career milestone) whose unexpected return to his apartment in NYC results in an unlikely friendship with two illegal immigrants currently squatting there (Sleiman and Gurira, both sublimely perfect) until one is arrested and facing deportation.

Stirring performances by Jenkins,Haaz Sleiman(As the Syrian musician),DAnai Gurira(As the girlfriend)and Hiam Abbass(As the Syrian's proud,dignified and vulnerable mother) make this film,the second by character actor Thomas McCArthy(whose STation Agent I have yet to see,and now want to catch more than ever)a compelling,if sometimes not entirely plausible film.

Walter looks nonchalant and empty.

He truly is a blank slate with an empty look in the beginning of the movie and eventually you see more and more of Walter's will being restored by the way Walter interacts with others and from the looks on his face.

Walter is a man who has settled into a pointless, unhappy existence.

This film is first and foremost and exploration of what impact unexpected human relationships might have upon our lives.

Jenkins stars as Walter Vale, an empty shell of a man.

Boring plot, bad actors.

I was amazed by the scenes of Walter walking in the dreary Queens' streets, there are hardly any extras or bystanders in the background.

His life is empty and days slowly blend into weeks and months.

Jenkins is fascinating to watch as an ordinary man trying to find himself; he gives one of the best male performances of the decade and I'd love if he got at least an Oscar nomination, since I can see him remaining in my top 5 by the end of the year, perhaps still as my favourite.

After some initial confusion and embarrassment occasioned by the misunderstanding, a warm relationship develops between Walter and the young man, Tarek, who repays Walter's kindness in allowing them to stay in the apartment by teaching him how to play the djimbe, a hand drum of West African origin.

A worth watching movie .

If you see 30 minutes and you find yourself bored, skip the last hour.

When the confusion is cleared up and they leave without too much fuss, the film instills an air of relief about proceedings only for Vale to do the unthinkable and go and get them back off the street and into his apartment again, thus beginning the crux of The Visitor, a three way play examining relations between these people which comes to form a really rather pleasing film.