Friday, December 26, 2008

The Visitor

Maybe you figured out that I like to watch movies when I have some time off. You'll be subjected to a few reviews until I go back to work. Skip 'em if you want to.

We have a membership that we really enjoy but we have also been getting a lot of our movies from RedBox lately. I have a love-hate relationship with the whole RedBox experience...
Love: The price. Only $1 a night.
Hate: If you're stupid and forget to return the movie, the $$$s rack up.
Love: There are multiple and convenient locations. My favorite place is Maverick where I can fill up on Diet Dr. Pepper after choosing a movie.
Hate: My anxiety goes through the roof when I try to quickly make a selection while a number of hooligans are waiting in line.
Love: You can reserve copies of available movies...if you think about it ahead of time.
Hate: If you don't know what you're after or if the movie you want is gone, you can get some pretty cold fingers while you search the list of titles.

Incidentally, if you register at, you can get a promotional code every Monday for a free movie rental...Don't forget to return it by 9 p.m. on Tuesday though :)

Okay. So I went to our friendly neighborhood Maverick looking for 'Horton Hears a Who' and was disappointed to find it unavailable. There was another mom there waiting in line behind me and while she didn't fit my hooligan criteria, she looked about as spent as I was so I randomly chose The Visitor.

Synopsis (from
Sixty-two-year-old Walter Vale is sleepwalking through his life. Having lost his passion for teaching and writing, he fills the void by unsuccessfully trying to learn to play classical piano. When his college sends him to Manhattan to attend a conference, Walter is surprised to find a young couple has taken up residence in his apartment. Victims of a real estate scam, Tarek, a Syrian man, and Zainab, his Senegalese girlfriend, have nowhere else to go. In the first of a series of tests of the heart, Walter reluctantly allows the couple to stay with him.

Touched by his kindness, Tarek, a talented musician, insists on teaching the aging academic to play the African drum. The instrument’s exuberant rhythms revitalize Walter’s faltering spirit and open his eyes to a vibrant world of local jazz clubs and Central Park drum circles. As the friendship between the two men deepens, the differences in culture, age and temperament fall away.

After being stopped by police in the subway, Tarek is arrested as an undocumented citizen and held for deportation. As his situation turns desperate, Walter finds himself compelled to help his new friend with a passion he thought he had long ago lost. When Tarek’s beautiful mother Mouna arrives unexpectedly in search of her son, the professor’s personal commitment develops into an unlikely romance. It is through these new found connections with virtual strangers that Walter is awakened to a new world and a new life.

This film was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. The story is tragic and believable and the characters are complex, flawed, and endearing. Sometimes films like this try to shout their social or political agenda in your face but this one does not. The bitter two edges of immigration problems in the country are central but the statement is subtle and not pious. It is also a beautiful reminder that it is never too late to find a cause or passion in life and that opening yourself to new experiences and people can forever change you.

I highly recommend this movie but be warned that it does earn its PG-13 rating by dropping the f-bomb a couple of times.


Rockelle said...

hey...Now I am excited to go find a movie at REdbox again...Rita you are an excellent writer...are you writing a book?

kmmclain said...

I too liked this movie. Nathan and I saw it a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

Kristen Gregson said...

Haven't heard of this one. Sounds interesting. We'll have to check it out. We love RedBox as well and love the $1 increments for late fees! :)

Atkin Family said...

Rita - you're new background is so cute - but I have to admit the flashing dots make me a little anxious inside!! Could you find something that is easier on the CNS challenged individuals such as myself?!!!

Debbie said...

Love Redbox and we always rent there when we're on vacation in Utah. I just registered online for my free movie and found out there is a Redbox near our house. Cool.

I will have to put this movie on our Netflix watch-list. It sounds good.

Andrea said...

nate and I rented this movie based on your recommendation. It is BY FAR the best Red Box movie we've gotten in a long time and the best movie I've seen so far this year (okay, but it's only the 2nd). Anyway, I loved this movie, but it did make me sad. I kept wanting the old man to marry the woman so she could get a green card---good idea huh? j/k....honestly though, loved this movie!