The Visitor (Thomas McCarthy, 2008)

the visitor

A very sweet story that Richard Jenkins (economics Prof. Walter Vale) was just meant to play.  The feeling I am left with is altruism in it’s purest form, beyond even the backdrop of 9/11 deportation which is somewhat of a political misstep in the film anyway.  Vale, despondent from his mundane existence is reinvigorated by discovering an illegal couple living in a NY property of his but not one he frequents.  There should be more excitement in economics than this.  Vale bonds immediately with the male lead in a mutual love for music.  The film is not without its faults:  1.  Again, the political landscape falls tired because its been going on for centuries in many countries, 2.  The widower theme and a disjointed relationship with a son is never developed at all (this backdrop is a conceit to persuade the audience to feel a certain way going in – I don’t like to be persuaded a certain way going in.), 3. Why not have the relationship with the mother and Vale become sexual?

But overall its inspiring to watch Vale as he desperately yet calmly tries to solve the problem at hand.  I have always loved Jenkins, especially in his comic roles (e.g. Flirting With Disaster) but this is his film and in the special features in the blu-ray DVD he confirms its his role of a lifetime.

*** 1/2 / *****

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