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Film Studies 101
Unmissable 5 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

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Richard Jenkins
Haaz Sleiman.
Running Time
106 minutes

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The Visitor
When strangers become friends...

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A college professor travels to his second home in New York City and finds an illegal immigrant couple living in his apartment.

The Visitor

Tom McCarthy follows up The Station Agent with another witty drama. Anti-social professor Walter (Richard Jenkins) arrives at his second home in New York, only to find a young illegal immigrant couple living there. After hesitantly allowing them to stay, he bonds with happy-go lucky drummer Tarek (the charismatic Sleiman). Their odd-couple friendship is charming and uplifting, even when events take a turn for the worse. McCarthy makes a serious point about immigration without losing his lightness of touch, and he’s assisted by terrific turns by Jenkins and Sleiman. The tension dips when Tarek’s mother arrives and the film threatens to descend into cliché, but stick with it and you’ll be richly rewarded.

The tension dips occasionally but stick with it and you’ll be richly rewarded.

Reviewed by Anna Smith

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Average user rating for The Visitor
Empire Star Rating

A heart-achingly subdued and humanistic grace note, which deeply enthrals, touches and devastates. The year's most subtle achievement. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Romarth at 19:12, 23 February 2009 | Report This Post

RE: The Visitor

Saw this last night.  Was very impressed by Thomas McCarthy's second feature.  Having also seen The Station Agent this year for the first time, it seems clear to me that there are strands of similarity however this feels like a more mature settled picture with a clearer voice.   At the heart of the success of this film is Richard Jenkins note-perfect performance gently rising and falling in line with the film's tone.   This is a film which is well written with well c... More

Posted by Groovy Mule at 13:26, 22 July 2008 | Report This Post

RE: The Visitor

Looks good - heard the soundtrack on and it's pretty hypnotic. Shame it isn't coming to general cinemas then, saw it on a London poster but live in Reading and was looking for it in the Vue listings :(. Have to get the DVD as I'm sure I won't be in London again for a while until I get a proper job there. ... More

Posted by Crowqueen at 23:23, 20 July 2008 | Report This Post

The Visitor

As with McCarthy's previous film, The Station Agent, here is a quiet comedy about healing, but the stakes have been upped. Set against post-9/11 Manhattan, it casts Jenkins as a man learning to loosen up and open up in a world intent on shutting itself off and shutting itself down. McCarthy is hardly subtle: his plot is basically “white American sees black Muslims are people, too”, yet he handles a strident subject in a gentle way. This is a modest miracle of a movie – and... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 13:42, 08 July 2008 | Report This Post


hame this isn't getting a wider release. Very subtle performances, fantastic direction. In the wrong hands, this could've been a melodramatic mess. Richard Jenkins in particular turning in an amazingly restrained display. Currently playing arthouse theatres in Glasgow & Edinburgh. Unlikely to hit the Odeon's any time soon & even the larger Cineworld's are donating virtually zilch to independent productions currently. ... More

Posted by felix sore foot at 11:59, 05 July 2008 | Report This Post


Looking forward to this. But I'm having a tough time finding it playing anywhere outside London (the same as with the recent "The Escapist"). Summer just isn't a great time for distributors to get smaller movies seen. ... More

Posted by Fit Kisto at 18:16, 04 July 2008 | Report This Post

saw it at edinburgh film festival the other week, good film, pretty spot on review. not sure i agree with the dip in tension remark though. if you liked station agent, although different story altogether, you'll more than likely enjoy this too. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kitch_i at 13:23, 04 July 2008 | Report This Post

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