Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An Outstanding Film... The Visitor

I saw a great movie at the theater this weekend: The Visitor. ( The star is Richard Jenkins whose face you know even if you don't know his name. But the real star of the show is the script. What a great story! Jenkins plays a U. of Conn. college professor who returns to his NYC apartment for a conference only to find that it has been inhabited by a young couple, illegal aliens both. He quickly develops a friendship with the young man, Tarek, centered around their love of playing African drums. During one of their drum-playing outings, Tarek, a Syrian, is arrested. At this point, the focus changes from the friendship between the two men to the relationship between Tareks' mother and Jenkins, and their attempts to keep Tarek from being deported. This is a quiet, personal film. Jenkins is so natural as a burnt-out professor who comes back to life thanks to his new friends that he truly deserves an award. His characters' willingness to accept people from a different culture, a different lifestyle, to almost eagerly become a participant in their lives, clearly gaining more from these new relationships than he had from the stolid life he was living is remarkable, refreshing and oh so believable. The three other main characters are played by unfamiliar actors but they were all superb, especially Hiam Abbass who played the mother. She was beautiful and fascinating: you never wanted to take your eyes off of her. Obviously, I will be buying this DVD for the library when it becomes available. Until then, if you want to see some other great films involving illegal immigrants check out The Terminal with Tom Hanks, Maria Full of Grace, a wonderful Spanish film about drug smuggling, and Dirty Pretty Things, an English film dealing with the very seedy, criminal side of the life of illegal aliens.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you Julie. This was really a beautiful movie that felt really full and powerful but in a gentle way. Maura

Barbara said...

THis was a great review and I love the design, especially the color scheme. You can pass my compliments to Lesa.