If you're looking for a good movie to rent this weekend, I recommend you rent “The Visitor”. I’m not a movie critic, and I’m not an expert on movies as an art form, but occasionally I will see a movie that is so perfect in every way, I have to share it with everyone I know. "The Visitor” is just such a movie. Richard Jenkins has been nominated for an Academy Award for best actor in his role as Walter Vale in this movie. Walter Vale has been teaching the same economics course at a Connecticut college for 20 years. He is so bored with his job, he finds difficulty even preparing a syllabus for the course. He goes to New York City to attend a conference and to give a paper which he has co-authored, but for which he really had very little input. He still has an apartment in New York, where he and his wife once lived. When he gets there, he finds the apartment occupied by a Syrian immigrant, Tarek, and his Senegalese girlfriend, Zainab. Walter takes pity on the young couple, allows them to stay, and a friendship develops among them.
Walter spends his days at the tedious economics conference, and in the evenings Tarek teaches him to play the African djembe drum, and before long Walter’s inner spirit and passion begins to awaken. The music in this film is amazing. There is a CD of the African djembe drum music from this film, and I have tried to buy the CD, but I have been unable to find it.
Tarek is arrested and held at a detention center awaiting deportation. The movie really begins to unfold when Tarek’s mother, Mouna, comes to New York to help him, and she stays in Walter’s apartment. A lovely, warm friendship develops, and the chemistry between Walter and Mouna is amazing. We see Walter begin to smile for the first time. I found myself really caring about what happens to all of these people.
As soon as the movie was over, I wanted to watch it again. The title refers to the visitor, but I was never sure who was the visitor. If you're looking for a movie to rent this weekend, rent "The Visitor". I absolutely guarantee you will love it.
Click on the video to hear some of the great djembe drum music.