Monday, March 16, 2009

A Meltingpot Movie Review -- The Visitor


Okay, I've already admitted that my local library is my Netflix. I've also admitted on previous occasions that I choose my movies and books based on whether there are people of color prominently displayed on the cover. I know, I'm not very discriminating (ha-ha pun intended!) but really, since the films and books are free, I don't really mind too much if I pick a dud.

Suffice it to say, my latest film selection, chosen because there was a cute interracial couple on the back, was completely dud free. In fact it was a beautiful little film that I highly recommend. The movie is called The Visitor. The film was written and directed by Tom McCarthy who directed The Station agent and stars some big name folks like Richard Jenkins, and some fresh-faced newcomers like Haaz Sleiman and Danai Gurira.

The storyline is simple. Walter, an older White academic who has been hiding from life since his wife passed away, befriends a young couple in rather bizarre circumstances. The couple, both Muslim immigrants living in New York City, open up a new world for Walter and teach him how to live again. Until tragedy strikes and then Walter learns how to love again.

This film is as much about immigration issues as it is about love and learning to embrace life. The cast is both international and interracial in very real ways, without seeming like an obvious plot device. And apparently it did very well on the festival circuit, and received gushing reviews. I do wonder however, if it ever enjoyed a theatrical release? Anybody know? Regardless, add The Visitor to your movie cue right away.

And I will continue to use my non-discriminating ways to find movies with diverse characters whose lives mirror my own.

Peace & Happy Monday!

P.S. The winner of the One Drop book is Spring!!! Spring, email me your mailing address at myamericanmeltingpot@gmail.com and I'll drop your autographed book in the mail. Thank you everyone for posting.

7 comments:

Karen said...

It was in theaters, about mid 2008. Plus Richard Jenkins got an Oscar nomination for this role. Definitely a great movie, all the diversity was immensely enjoyable!

Spring @ forever spring said...

I won, I won! Thanks Lori!

The Visitor. Something about this movie grabbed me the minute I first saw it. Love the tale. Felt the injustice. Sorta got a little girl crush on the girlfriend and her beautiful jewelry. Wait...did I just write that?

I particularly enjoyed the character of the mother. We don't tend to think of American older women as empowered, much less Syrian older women. Love that she came to get her son. Love that she lived her values, but took risks. She was fearless. I would like to think I'd do the same, were I to find myself in her place.

Martine said...

I loved The Visitor!! It was ever the more touching because it realistically didn't wrap up neatly at the conclusion the way I hoped.
Richard Jenkins and the entire film composition spoke various levels of frustration so beautifully in muted little ways.

Also, it was produced by http://www.participantmedia.com/ which makes some amazingly concious and diverse films including upcoming The Soloist w/ Jamie Fox. It's based on a true story.

LT said...

Karen,
Thanks for the info. How did I miss this film? Oh right, because I don't get out much and use the library as my source of entertainment. Well I'm glad EVERYBODY else heard of The Visitor and enjoyed it :)

Spring,
I loved the mother too. I loved that she was beautiful and strong yet vulnerable and open too. I loved all of the characters because they were all unique and complex.

Martine,
I was sobbing at the end and so wanted a neat wrap up and yet found myself loving the ending anyway because it gave me hope. And oh yeah, I can't wait to see the soloist.

Olivia said...

I loved this movie too, so glad you enjoyed it. It played at the Ritz for a while in Philadelphia, but I feel it was definitely under the radar.

Carleen Brice said...

Loved this movie! Got such a kick out of the guy who got arrested--he and his girlfriend were great--but they all were great! Loved hearing about "Arab time"-so much like CP time. I think lots of cultures have this and it's nice to see those kinds of connections.

Dain Binder said...

This movie was great! I hope many people get to watch it. Like you say it covers immigrations issues and finding joy in life.