"The Visitor"

I am still renting movies from Blockbuster.com and my most recent one was The Visitor, a 2008 movie  written and directed by Tom McCarthy, with Richard Jenkins playing the lead role and supported by actors that were new to me and to whom I was I was very much attracted. Here is how I reviewed it on the Blockbuster site:
The Visitor is an important (and well done) movie for our times. I highly recommend it. We are quick to dismiss people who are deported as undocumented non-US citizens, on the rare occasion that we even hear about them. This movie makes clear, in a dramatic, yet understated way, that these people often have full "American lives", and may love this country and feel that the United States is their home. But, the government is making deportation decisions, more out of fear and maybe even discrimination, than as a result of reasonable jurisprudence and on a case by case basis. As a side note, I had to yahoo Richard Jenkins, who was so familiar to me, but I didn't know why. Now I do. He played Nathaniel Fisher in the HBO series, Six Feet Under. He was excellent in both (and very different). I was also drawn to the other actors in the movie, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira and especially Hiam Abbass (a Palestinian actress). Rent this movie.

An added bonus to this film was the music. It has a beautiful score, but what I noticed more was the exciting drumming and the inclusion of a song by Fela Kuti called, Je'Nwi Teni (Don't Gag Me). I had meant to see Fela on Broadway, but never got around to it. Somehow, the inclusion of his music in this film, seemed to me serrendipitous and helped ease my disappointment about missing the play. Besides for the political message of the movie, it was heartening to see the personal growth of the Richard Jenkins character, not least of which was in his ability to finally conquer a musical instrument. He had tried unsuccessfully to learn the piano, which his beloved wife, who had died several years before the time of the movie, had mastered and played professionally. He had no passion for the piano, nor for his day to day life. But  much to his own surprise, he developed a competence, as well as a passion for playing the African Drum and for life. 

1 comment:

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