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The Visitor [Blu-ray] (2008)

Michael Cumpsty , Richard Jenkins , Tom McCarthy  |  PG-13 |  Blu-ray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Cumpsty, Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Hiam Abbass
  • Directors: Tom McCarthy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001C0NMUC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,755 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Visitor [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A deeply moving drama built around longtime character actor Richard Jenkins, The Visitor is a simmering drama about a college professor and recent widower, Walter Vale (Jenkins), who discovers a pair of homeless, illegal aliens living in his New York apartment. After the mix-up is resolved, Vale invites the couple--a young, Syrian musician named Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend (Danai Gurira--to stay with him. An unlikely friendship develops between the retiring, quiet Vale and the vital Tarek, and the former begins to loosen up and respond to Tarek’s drumming lessons as if something in him waiting to be liberated has finally arrived. All goes well until Tarek is hauled in by immigration authorities and threatened with deportation. His mother, Mouna (Hiam Abbass), turns up and stays with Vale, sparking a renewed if subdued interest in courtship. But the wheels of injustice in immigration crush all manner of hopes in post-9/11 America. Vale soon realizes his unexpected capacity for anger over Tarek’s plight, and the positive changes to his personal life that emerged from a deep involvement with his friend and Mouna, might be the only legacy he takes from this experience. Writer-director Thomas McCarthy has created a wonderfully measured story about change and renewal, and put it all on the shoulders of Jenkins, a largely unheralded but masterful performer whose time for renown has surely come. --Tom Keogh

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Beyond The Visitor

On DVD

Soundtrack CD

Also directed by Tom McCarthy

Product Description

Hailed as one of the year's most intriguing dramas (Claudia Puig, USA TODAY), The Visitor stars Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) in a perfect performance (Lisa Schwarzbaum, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY) as Walter, a disaffected college professor who has been drifting aimlessly through his life. When, in a chance encounter on a trip into New York, Walter discovers a couple has taken up residence in his apartment in the city, he develops an unexpected and profound connection to them that will change his life forever. As challenges arise for his tenants, Walter finds himself compelled to help his new friends, and rediscovers a passion he thought he had lost long ago. The year's first genuine must-see film (Ann Hornaday, THE WASHINGTON POST) about rediscovering life's rhythms in the most unexpected places

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
118 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give me your tired, your poor... May 24, 2008
Format:DVD
Dr. Walter Vale's (Richard Jenkins) not interested in going to New York City to present a paper at a conference to help a fellow colleague and co-author. His own life takes precedence. Unfortunately, his dean doesn't see it that way.

When he arrives in New York, he discovers that someone's bathing in his tub. That would be Zainab (Danai Jekesai Gurira), a young Senegalese woman who is as surprised to see him as he is her. The person sleeping in one of his beds is Tarek (Haaz Sleiman), a young Syrian man who sublet Vale's neglected apartment from a person that Vale doesn't even know.

Vale cannot turn the pair out into the street, so he allows them to remain. As their acquaintance grows, Vale learns how to play the djembe from Tarek and also the plight of illegal aliens--particularly Muslim ones, post 9/11 after Tarek is erroneously arrested in the subway over jumping the turnstile.

One of the most heartbreaking scenes in this movie is when Vale takes Zaineb and Tarek's mother Moona (Hiam Abbass) to Staten Island. The women, who are both illegal, see the Statue of Liberty in all her glory. Zaineb relates how Tarek, who is now in detention, used to ride the ferry and jump up and down every time Lady Liberty came in sight pretending it was the first time to be in America.

Vale, who'd failed piano lessons four times, learns there's music in everyone's soul. If you can't play the piano, move on to another instrument until you find one whose music is in sync with your own rhythm.

My husband and I left "The Visitor" wishing there was more, hoping that there was a good outcome for the characters. In the lobby, we met a man who'd attended the Sundance Film Festival where "The Visitor" screened for the first time. He told us this was the only film that year that got a standing ovation. I understand why.

Rebecca Kyle, May 2008
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
A genuinely unexpected gem. As he proved with his first film as a director and screenwriter, 2003's The Station Agent, Thomas McCarthy knows how to convey the fine line between solitude and loneliness in his characters' lives with an emotional preciseness that doesn't call attention to itself. It's not surprising that McCarthy is an actor because he's able to capture the very subtle nuances in behavior in actors that make his work feel like Edward Hopper paintings come to life. As a result, you pay attention to a simple gesture, a passing glance, a resigned sigh. This time, his protagonist is Walter Vale, an enervated, middle-aged economics professor at a Connecticut college. Widowed and wholly lacking in professional motivation, he begrudgingly accepts an assignment to go to an academic conference at NYU and present a paper on globalization he really didn't write.

Coming back to a Greenwich Village flat he rarely uses, he is surprised to find a couple living there. Not squatters but unfortunate victims of a rental scam, they turn out to be illegal aliens, a Syrian percussionist named Tarek and his girlfriend Zainab, a Senegalese who makes and sells handcrafted jewelry. As withdrawn from life as Walter is, he slowly finds himself bonding with the couple and lets them stay indefinitely. Zainab is slow to trust Walter, but Tarek and Walter become close over a mutual love of African drums. As his wife was a famous classical pianist, Walter had been futilely attempting to find musical inspiration since her death. However, just as this charming tale of world harmony plays out, it comes back to harsh reality when Tarek is arrested and taken to a detention center in Queens for deportation.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Visitor Movie Review April 4, 2008
Format:DVD
With a highly inventive introduction to cheerfully mismatched characters, The Visitor is a daring look at the hopelessness of unfortunate immigration circumstances. Superbly acted and beautifully scored, the film doesn't back down from its touching subject matter and realistically tragic events, but instead infuses them with aptly-timed comic relief and the persuasive power of music and romance.

Bitter and bored college professor Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins) travels to his New York apartment after being forced to attend a conference on global economization. Immediately he discovers a couple living in his home, and out of kindness and the appeal of company, he invites them to stay. Tarek Khalil (Haaz Sleiman) plays the drums, and soon gets the unsociable Walter to take up the instrument. Tarek's girlfriend Zainab is slower to acknowledge Walter's hospitality, but eventually warms to his presence.

When Tarek is arrested at the subway and taken to a detention center for illegal immigrants, Walter shows estimable concern for his newfound friend. Weighing his teaching job back in Connecticut against helping a man he's known for less than two weeks, Walter hires a lawyer to aid in Tarek's release. When Mrs. Khalil arrives to find out what's happened to her son, Walter finds himself rediscovering romance as well as what is truly important in his life.

Great care is taken to create sympathy for Tarek and Zainab, even though they are chiefly at fault for their uncertain positions. They've done nothing wrong in the eyes of the viewer, and its best that it stays that way - for the law they break is too complex to designate as morally right and wrong.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie
Published 4 days ago by walon green
5.0 out of 5 stars Would recommend and use this provider again
Quick service and item as described. Would recommend and use this provider again.
Published 11 days ago by d.r.
5.0 out of 5 stars ... to know the true about what happens to many good, honest people...
For anyone who wants to know the true about what happens to many good, honest people who live in this country without legal papers.
Published 18 days ago by Leontina M. A. Donoso
5.0 out of 5 stars must see!
Richard Jenkins is such a gem! I just love his versatility! This is a great movie about real people. It's a must watch. And it has Michonne from Walking Dead ;)
Published 27 days ago by etropsis
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable movie
I loved this movie. It had a really nice story.
Published 27 days ago by BreAna Cannon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very good watch, and a heartfelt story
Published 1 month ago by Lori A. Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my top ten movies for sure. I've ...
One of my top ten movies for sure. I've watched it several times, and given as gifts. VERY timely with the current immigration situation. A must see for everyone. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jan Killebrew
5.0 out of 5 stars It also introduced me to the wonderful instrument, the Djembe and the...
A sensitive film dealing a mans with refocus in life after loss. It shows how an unexpected encounter that leads to a purpose in life, through friendship, kindness and reaching... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paulaexuk
5.0 out of 5 stars but the story and acting is terrific and shows what someone can and is...
If you ever go on vacation and return home to find strangers staying in your house, I doubt anyone would do what happens in this movie, but the story and acting is terrific and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Printz
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It was an ok movie
Published 1 month ago by JK
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