Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The Visitor

The Visitor, written and directed by Tom McCarthy, is a wonderful humanizing film about a lonely man’s encounter with three people who, in just a couple of weeks, will completely change his life. Richard Jenkins delivers an absolutely magnificent (and seemingly effortless) performance as Walter, the protagonist, a widower who hates his life as an economics professor in Connecticut. He goes to New York for a conference and finds illegal immigrants staying in the apartment he owns there. Trouble follows, but the story unfolds in an incredibly quiet, understated and natural way. After watching the film, I saw a poster in the London subway quoting a critic who called The Visitor a “master class in subtlety”. That is a perfect description of the film. Like The Edge of Heaven, The Visitor is profoundly moving without being at all sentimental. The performances are all completely natural and every moment of the film feels authentic, proving once again (see review of The Edge of Heaven) that films do not need washed-out hand-held cinematography to feel real. The Visitor is, in fact, a gorgeous film to watch.

Simple yet elegant, this film about the power of unexpected friendships is an honest and heartbreaking look at life in New York after 9/11 and it will almost certainly make my top ten films of 2008.

**** My mug is up and full of the good stuff. Jackie, you might not want to wait for Netflix to see this one.


  1. The cinema it is, then! My visits to actual movie theatres have plummeted in the past year (as a result of living the car-free life in a city like Atlanta), but I will do my best to give this movie the big screen it deserves.

  2. I caught The Visitor when it was in theaters, and it was one of my favorite films of the whole year! Richard Jenkins from Six Feet Under was outstanding, and the message of friendship throughout the movie was very powerful. The Visitor will be released on DVD October 7th, and I definitely plan on buying it. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you can find more info here: