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The Visitor DVD

Thomas McCarthy, 2007


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Film Details

Directed by Thomas McCarthy

Produced in 2007

Main Language - English

Countries & Regions - American film


Hiam Abbass, Maggie Moore, Marian Seldes, Michael Cumpsty, Richard Jenkins, Richard Kind


Contemporary DramaContemporary RomanceAmerican Film / Contemporary Film

MovieMail's Review

Claudia Gonella thoroughly enjoys this optimistic character study.

Lonely, listless and unable to write, widowed university professor Walter (an Oscar-nominated Richard Jenkins) turns to piano lessons in the hope they will give life without his wife meaning. Finding a frustrating lack of ability only entrenches his sense of emptiness still deeper, it is not until Walter invites two strangers into his life that the direction of his dreary existence is radically altered.

On a work trip to New York, Walter finds a young immigrant couple staying in his apartment, and an unlikely friendship between Syrian musician Tarek and the professor begins to develop. Through their relationship, Walter is liberated from numbness and his dormant creative yearnings are finally jolted out of hibernation as the musician begins teaching him how to play the drums. However, Tarek is an illegal alien and the authorities are trying to catch up with him...

The Visitor is a touching character study boasting perceptive and moving performances. Itís a simple and ultimately optimistic tale which explores complex and profound facets of humanity with an adroitly light touch.

on 30th January 2009
Author of 10 reviews

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Film Description

A college professor finds his life taking a new direction when he crosses paths with a pair of illegal immigrants in this bittersweet urban drama. Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins), a 60-something college professor, is treading water. Bored with his life and with no passion for his work, he takes up classical piano lessons to try and fill the vacuum. When his college sends him to Manhattan for a conference, he returns to his apartment to find a young couple have taken up residence. Having fallen foul of a real-estate scam, Tarek (Haaz Sleiman), a Syrian, and his Senegalese girlfriend Zainab (Dania Gurira), are homeless. Generously, Walter lets them both stay, and Tarek, in return, offers to teach the academic how to play the African drum. The vibrant rhythms of the drum soon have a therapeutic effect on the professor's flagging spirit, leading him to explore New York's diverse musical life. The two men, previously separated by culture and age, quickly develop a genuine and deep friendship. When Tarek is suddenly arrested by the authorities and faces deportation, Walter realises that he has to help his friend at all costs, discovering a passion he thought was lost forever.

DVD Details

Certificate: 15

Publisher: UNANI

Length: 103 mins

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 widescreen

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 0

Released: 23rd February 2009

Cat No: UNA001DVD

DVD Extras

  • Interviews: Cast
  • Commentaries:Thomas McCarthy (Director), Richard Jenkins
  • Documentaries: 'Playing the Djembe' featurette
  • Gallery

Film Stills

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Community Reviews

“The Visitor”
by Ghaya Elias on 12th October 2009

Such a moving film. However, lack of subtitles makes it hard to follow all conversations. Nevertheless, highly recommended for its humanity, directing, acting and music. Read on


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