Monday, January 26, 2009
I watched a wonderful movie this weekend. The Visitor was written and directed by Tom McCarthy who also wrote and directed another favorite movie of mine The Station Agent. Both stories are about how and why people from different backgrounds connect. In The Visitor, Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins), a professor in Connetticut who has lost his passion for teaching and for life, ends up befriending Tarak, a Syrian and his girfriend Zainab who is from Senegal when he discovers them living in his apartment in Manhattan. The couple, victims of a real estate scam, have no place to go so Walter allows them to stay. In return, Tarek teaches him to play his African drum, the djembe. This unlikely friendship transforms Walter's life by opening up a whole new world of drummers and jazz clubs to him. When Tarek is arrested and threatened with deportation, Walter feels compelled to help him and when Tarek's mother shows up, Walter reaches out to her too. Through these new friendships, Walter is able to regain a passion for life that he thought was lost forever.