The Visitor

April 18th, 2008


The Visitor

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Still of Hiam Abbass and Richard Jenkins in The VisitorStill of Haaz Sleiman in The VisitorPeter Dinklage at event of The VisitorStill of Richard Jenkins and Danai Gurira in The VisitorStill of Danai Gurira in The VisitorStill of Richard Jenkins and Haaz Sleiman in The Visitor

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

Release Year: 2007

Rating: 7.7/10 (23,521 voted)

Critic's Score: 79/100

Director: Thomas McCarthy

Stars: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira

In Connecticut, the widower and lonely 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 the New York University, where he is to give a lecture about a paper that he is coauthor on. 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 in the Jules Live Jazz and Walter is fascinated with his African drum. 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 of immigrants...

Richard Jenkins - Walter
Haaz Sleiman - Tarek
Danai Gurira - Zainab
Hiam Abbass - Mouna
Marian Seldes - Barbara
Maggie Moore - Karen
Michael Cumpsty - Charles
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

Taglines: Connection is everything


Official Website: Official site | Official site [Japan] |

Release Date: 18 April 2008

Filming Locations: East Village Wines, East Village, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

Opening Weekend: $86,488 (USA) (13 April 2008) (4 Screens)

Gross: $9,422,422 (USA) (5 October 2008)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

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.

Continuity: When the student comes to Walter's office to hand in his assignment, the first shot of the student standing in the doorway next to the bookshelves shows a book called "Numerical Recipes," which is a well-known text in computer science and, thus, rather out-of-place in Walter's office. Next to it are both editions of a distinctly esoteric book called "Applied Cryptography" which definitely do not belong. In all subsequent shots these books have been removed, suggesting a re-shoot of the first scene.

Mouna Khalil: This feels like Syria.

User Review

Sensitive & Thoughtful Film

Rating: 10/10

Thomas McCarthy's 2nd film after the wonderful "Station Agent" is equally good, if not better. I can't recommend Richard Jenkins' performance any higher here. He plays a widowed professor who is drifting through life rather aimlessly until he visits his New York apartment and finds there are two people squatting there. I won't give away anything else, except to say that it'll be a shame if this film flies under the radar. Jenkins is a character actor that everyone recognizes, but that few of us know. Here he occupies the first third of the film practically alone, and reminds us in moments of the Jack Nicholson character from "About Schmidt" with his dry humor that is on display for his crabby piano teacher.

Don't you just love watching an actor up there alone who keeps you spellbound in a subtle way? That's how this movie starts, and gradually we come to meet the couple in Jenkins' apartment, and the mother of one of them. The movie flows economically and with much care, but by the end it creeps up on us and makes us feel glad along the way as well as making us pause and reflect on the state of our world.

Lovely, lovely movie.


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