A deeply moving drama built around longtime character actor Richard Jenkins, The Visitor is a simmering drama about a college professor and recent widower, Walter Vale (Jenkins), who discovers a pair of homeless, illegal aliens living in his New York apartment. After the mix-up is resolved, Vale invites the couple--a young, Syrian musician named Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend (Danai Gurira--to stay with him. An unlikely friendship develops between the retiring, quiet Vale and the vital Tarek, and the former begins to loosen up and respond to Tarek’s drumming lessons as if something in him waiting to be liberated has finally arrived.
The Visitor has some great relationships and dynamics that play out between the characters. It wasn't a movie I was that sure I even wanted to see, but I ended up really enjoying it. It's quite different from anything I've seen lately (and possibly ever). It's a slower, more subdued movie - - but one that definitely works that way.
It does, for sure, make a political point with its story, but the rest is so enjoyable, I'm not sure you have to agree to like the movie.
The interactions between the actors were really fantastic and I hope to see some of them in more things.
The music in -- and a part of -- the movie is just great. I love the way that music is worked in and used as another part of the story, how it progresses (as a mirror to Jenkin's character Walter) is great to watch.
The Visitor on IMDb and Amazon (104 mins/PG-13/2007)
The other, much lighter movie I saw this week was Another Cinderella Story. This sequel/really-a sequel to Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff stars 'Wizards of Waverly Place's Selena Gomez, Secret Circle's Jessica Kennedy, High School Musical's Drew Seeley and Glee's Jane Lynch.
Here's the summary via IMDB:
A guy who danced with what could be the girl of his dreams at a costume ball only has one hint at her identity: the Zune she left behind as she rushed home in order to make her curfew. And with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in front of him, he sets out to find his masked beauty.Really, any summary that has 'the Zune she left behind' sounds kind of bad, admittedly, but Another Cinderella Story is super cute.
Jane Lynch adds a great bit of comedy to the film - - she's actually a bit similar to her Glee role here as Mary's evil guardian who's also a past-her-prime pop star. (And there's a music video or two.)
You probably have to be a fan of Disney type movies - - like Princess Protection Program or any of the newer tween-targeted ones, to truly love this movie, but fans of teen movies that involve less sex and swearing and drinking, should also have fun watching it.
I, personally, love all dance movies - all the Step Up movies - and, it seems, movies with Selena Gomez so this one was a definite win. Hopefully if you get a chance to watch it, you'll like it, too.
Another Cinderella Story on IMDb and Amazon (92 mins/PG/2008)