Friday, January 23, 2009

Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor"

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.


13 comments:

Mary Ellen said...

Thanks for the tip, I'm always looking for a good movie to rent and a there aren't many out there. I especially like the movies that are "sleepers", and it sounds like this is a good one.

XUP said...

Someone else raved about this film on their blog. I think I'm going to have to get it even though initially I figured I'd had enough of "teacher" movies. Why is it that teachers seem to be such popular characters for movies when in real life most of them are real pillocks? I guess the special ones stand out enought to write a screenplay about

Dr.John said...

It does sound like a good movie to rent.

Annie in Austin said...

Good one, Josie!
"The Visitor" was recommended to us a while ago and then a radio interview with Richard Jenkins energized me enough to seek it out. My husband and I enjoyed it a great deal and thought all the performances were wonderful.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Ah, the ones I meet are usually civil servants who tap their vest pockets and say, "Important documents.
"University of Peshawar. Master's degree. Procter and Gamble for two years. You are uh, stupid! What you ask, is impossible you see. We have rules in this country."

Hard to befriend.

Ah well. I guess I'm like my cousin, Vassily Bigotovich.

Country Girl said...

Thanks, Josie! I saw previews for this movie at the theatre a couple of times and it looked like something I would love. Good idea!!

MollyandIzzie said...

This sounds amazing and touching - i am definatley going to rent this as soon as i can.

I will let you know what i think of it.

x x x x

Kym said...

I saw this movie a few weeks ago and I loved it. This is one of those movies that I would want to buy just to have for those rainy days when regular television gets boring. Thanks for the review...I second your comment that this movie is something to see! Let me know if you find the CD, I would love to have a copy as well. Have you tried iTunes?

Poutalicious said...

This reminds me of my ex-roomie, Blackhoop, who is American Indian, and who has moved on to the next life. He and I used to go on Saturday nights to Tempe, Arizona at 11:30 PM to listen to an organized "street drumming". It was so awesome. I miss him.

VioletSky said...

I also read a rave review of this film somewhere... and took their advice. A great, moving film.

Anonymous said...

I loved this film. I saw it two months ago now and had a very good time.
As to the question: who is the visitor ? May be himself, visiting his life...

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Mean Mama said...

Thanks for the tip Jo, always looking for a great movie. The scene reminds me of Evergreen State College near where I live. There are always open drum sessions on the campus. If there isn't one, someone is starting one up. I used to take my eldest there when he was 3 for some free entertainment and dancing. So fun!