The Visitor

The Visitor

DVD - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Walter Vale is a widower who teaches economics at a Connecticut university. He lives alone and is no longer motivated by his work. In New York to present a paper at a conference, he goes to the apartment that he has not visited in some time, but has kept since his wife was alive, only to discover a young couple living there. Despite their great cultural differences, Walter befriends Tarek, a Syrian citizen and drummer, and gradually builds a friendship with Esi, his girlfriend from Senegal. One day, when returning from Central Park with Walter, Tarek is arrested for jumping a stuck subway turnstile, despite the fact that he had paid. The police discover he does not have legal papers and transfer him to an immigrant detention center in Queens. Feeling responsible for and connected to Tarek, Walter decides to stay in New York to help and support him. Not hearing from her son, Tarek's mother arrives from Michigan to find out why, and she and Walter support one another while they attempt to free Tarek.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 13, 2020

LOVED this movie. Richard Jenkins is one of my favorite actors. Too bad nobody knows who he is.

Nov 25, 2019

recommended by Lil

Jul 23, 2018

Such a timely film to see now. It was released originally a few years back, but with the sensitivities towards immigration, this film show cases the complex feelings and humanity on all sides of this charming but sometimes difficult tale. Walter is a hopeless man who is going through the motions of life but really longing for a past that is long gone. He tries to grasp at the piano by feabilly taking lessons because his wife was an accomplished pianist. He is pty and wants filling but does not know how to do that. He gets snagged in his attempt because of the proper techniques and rules to playing the piano. A young multi racial couple come into his life and this resets him and ignites a spark in him. The young man teaches him that to play the drum one must just feel... no rules, don't think. The story progresses with a strong relationship developing with twists and turns along the way. Love this story and recommend it.

Apr 10, 2018

Nice movie that was well acted. The movie felt real not Hollywood, I enjoyed the acting and the playing of the drums.

Jan 03, 2018

This was an interesting story with suburb acting. I enjoyed the way the relationship between the young man and the older man developed. I understood Walter was lonely, he missed his wife and her music. The piano wasn't suited to his talent, but he needed music in his life. When he heard the drums, it created a connection to his wife. The young couple helped with the loneliness. I liked the interracial connection. We are all part of a bigger world. Good movie!

Dec 04, 2017

A little slow starting, possibly to see how the main character functions in contrast to what follows. Worth hanging in there. Acting superb with some delightful moments. In the end it can make one pause to reflect on immigration in the USA.

Mar 21, 2017

A moving story about immigration and lose of family. It feels realistic, not Hollywood.

Mar 05, 2017

This very good but slow moving independent film was written and directed by Tom McCarthy (Spotlight, The Station Agent, Win Win). The incredible Richard Jenkins plays Walter Vale, a bored and lonely professor whose life is forever changed by a new friend. The movie may also be streamed through the OverDrive online resource available through Hennepin County Library.

Jan 25, 2017

Great movie. Lots of wonderful djembe drums. I like the acting of everyone. I kinda wish there hadn't been the immigration thing, because that's the end of the drums, for the most part.

Feb 28, 2016

Something about this appealed to me. I will watch it again soon. Really good.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Apr 19, 2011

Tarek Khalil: Oh s**t! We have to get home! Zainab's gonna kill me, I'm on Arab time again.
Prof. Walter Vale: What is "Arab time"?
Tarek Khalil: It means I'm late by an hour. All Arabs are late by an hour, it's genetic, we can't help it.

VeganGreen Dec 27, 2009

We have to get home! Zainab's gonna kill me, I'm on Arab time again.


Add Age Suitability
Apr 19, 2011

bdls206 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary
Apr 19, 2011

A college professor travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple living in his apartment.


Add Notices
Apr 19, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at PPL

To Top