Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I've noticed that the movies that I enjoy the most are frequently those that I know nothing about. For whatever reason, I have resisted reading any of the reviews for "The Visitor," so when I sat down last night to watch it, I had some vague idea that it had something to do with an airport. I'm so pleased with the surprises in this film, I think I will repeat the process: watch many more movies that I know nothing about. So, I guess I'll try to avoid spoiling your enjoyment by giving away major portions of the plot.

The acting is fantastic! It took me about 20 minutes to recognize Richard Jenkins, the actor who portrayed the dead father who frequently appears in the dreams and fantasies of his wife and two sons in "Six Feet Under." He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in "The Visitor," and in a personal interview he recently acknowledged that this film gave him the best role of his career. The actor who plays the young man from Syria (Hiam Abbass) is also wonderful, and I'm going to watch for him in future films.

I think a great deal of my response to this film came from empathy with the protagonist's solitary life. Even in the middle of a city, he is profoundly alone; he is also without a purpose in a world that is becoming increasingly remote - and at times, hostile. This is a redemptive movie, of course, since it focuses on our need for friends, lovers and companions. This film is set in New York City and the familiar landmarks are fitting backdrops for a film about alienation, loss and new beginnings. Please see it and tell me what you think.


  1. Gary, honey, I like my men sideways. I think you know exactly what you're doing.

  2. Trixie, you are a lusty little golden-ager!

  3. Gary, I have that on my Netflix list so I moved it up due to your 5 star reveiw!

    You think that Hussy Trixie is lusty? Huh!

  4. A friend recommended The Visitor, otherwise I might have passed over it. Film knocked me out
    of the box. I watched it three times and it got
    better with each viewing. I've been telling everybody I know about it - film buffs, I mean.
    I was in Queens, NY a couple years ago and the
    this movie beautifully captures the rhythms of the city streets and ethnic ambiance that I found so enlivening when I was there wandering around. The protagonist - played by Richard Jenkins - was a guy I could certainly relate to. Going from trying to learn to play classical piano to learning to play the drums
    instead, well, what a great metaphor for his self-transformation. I was reminded of the Drum Circle in Pritchard Square in Asheville, which I happened to stumble upon one Friday night a few months ago. I was stunned. There must have been over a hundred drummers, at least. And another two or three hundred people dancing. In Asheville! It was, in a word, bacchanalian. You couldn't help but move and groove with the music. Back to the film. I liked about all the acting in it, and found multiple levels of interpretation. The whole theme of immigrants and immigration issues is reason enough to watch this movie... But, hey, I'm like Gary. I loved this sleeper film. You gotta see it.


  5. Well, I would like to see some bacchanalian drumming in Asheville!

    Yeah, I loved the low-key character that Richard Jenkins portrayed. Sort of inept and uncomfortable. He reminded me of the academics
    in John Williams' novel, Stoner...inactive, trapped and "going nowhere."