The Visitor, directed by Thomas McCarthy, is a film with a thematic bias on immigration. The movie integrates humor, realism and social relations to make it very captivating and interesting. These features of the movie are developed as the protagonist, Walter, tries to mourn and recover from the death of his wife. The movie has several themes and perspectives integrated in a realistic and captivating plot.
Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins) is depressed after the death of his wife. He represents a colleague in a conference and finds a couple, Tarek and Zainab, subletting his apartment illegally. After chasing them, he becomes compassionate and offers them a room in his apartment. He soon discovers that Tarek drums with a jazz band. Tarek starts teaching him the drums and, thus, an odd relationship develops between them with Walter accompanying Tarek to the performances of his band.
ne day Tarek is detained by the police. His friends and family are illegally in the country and thus Walter is the only help he has. After missing his weekly call, his mother, Mouna (Hiam Abbass) comes looking for him. Walter tries to help him but time is running out. Walter realizes that he is up against stubborn and blind bureaucracy. Tarek is eventually deported to Syria.
The Visitor is characterized with a couple of themes. The thematic scope touches social-cultural awakening, racism, homelessness etc, and has a notable bias on immigration. Walter learns to be social-culturally flexible as he interacts with his housemate and learns from him. Homelessness and racism are addressed through Tarek and his girlfriend, Zainab. They are homeless in their stay in New York.
This homelessness helps McCarthy build his main theme; U.S. immigration policies. Tarek and his girlfriend are in the U.S. illegally. When Tarek is detained, nobody can visit him because his friends are illegally in the U.S. With these incidences and facts, McCarthy expresses his lack of confidence in the immigration policy of the United States. Racism is depicted as Zainab sells her home-made jewellery to tourists.
Despite the fact that the film addresses harsh subjects, it is humorous, perceptive, and joyful. It has an uninspiring synopsis but subverts the expectations of the viewer by its humor, captivation and touch of reality. As Walter attempts to play drums, the viewer is moved from pitying him to appreciating his role.
His relationship with Tarek gives the film its humorous touch. Music, color and richness of life in the movie make it very interesting. The film combines authenticity, pathos, surprises, comedy etc. that make it a likeable piece of work. Viewers are given the chance to predict events in the movie but the film still surprises them. This makes the movie interesting and captivating. This can even be seen at the start of the film as Walter tries to reconnect with his wifeby playing the keyboard.
The viewer is given the chance to analyze Walter’s situation. At this point, it is apparent that Walter will not live this kind of life forever. Viewers are given the chance to guess what would come to his rescue making his life more exciting. However, nobody expects his saviors to be a couple of homeless illegal immigrants. This kind of viewer involvement and surprises makes the movie very captivating and interesting.
As discussed above, the captivating nature, realistic nature and the humor integrated in the movie, The Visitor, makes it a creative masterpiece. It belongs to the class of movies that make their viewers to go back to the stores hoping to get a similar movie.