the visitor

November 8, 2008

Am I getting cynical in my old age? Or did anyone else find The Visitor annoying, condescending and self-righteous?

Here’s the plot in bullet points:

– Drab grouchy professor in a picture-perfect campus university eternally in fall has recently lost his wife

– Upon returning after a long absence to his New York City pad that he keeps for the occasional weekend (how he can afford this is a mystery) he finds two illegal immigrants living there as victims of a scam

– They leave immediately but grouchy prof’s heart melts when he goes out on the street and finds them desperately trying to find a roof for the night

– Grouchy prof invites them back home again, cue bonding over ethnic drumming and transformation of prof from grouchy to relaxed and cool, to the extent of groovy park drum jamming (see photo above)

– Inadvertently due to now-cool prof, ethnic drummer is grabbed by the police and locked up to be deported when they discover his illegal status

– Drummer’s girlfriend and mother are shown to be warm, loving people despite their lack of money, legal status and education, coincidentally all things previously cold, unloving prof has (in abundance)

– Transformed prof tries in vain to battle the evil system to get his drummer friend released, and in the film’s worst moment in my opinion, cries out in frustration and anguish at not managing. This despite the fact that drummer friend is the one with the real problems here.

– But that doesn’t matter as prof has had a profoundly life-changing experience, the lessons of which he will carry with him for the rest of his life.

I have absolutely no idea Philip French was on when he chose it as his film of the week. It is easily my anti-film of the year. Give yourself a break and steer clear.


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