Parents' Guide to

The Visitor

By Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Insightful drama shatters post-9/11 stereotypes.

Movie PG-13 2008 108 minutes
The Visitor Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 12+

Thought-provoking film

The film is for teenagers and adults because of the central themes, which require a certain level of maturity to grasp. It is a great starting place to discuss issues of immigration, detention, the legal system and government policies in a post 9/11 world. But, more than anything, it is a reminder of the power of human connections - ones that go beyond ethnic and cultural differences - and the personal transformations that we can all experience if we open ourselves up a bit. It is a tightly told story which simultaneously allows the viewers space to observe, process and absorb. The performances of the 4 main characters deserve praise and lead actor Jenkins was rightly nominated for an Oscar.
age 13+

A Well-Acted Drama

THE VISITOR is a good movie. It isn't my favorite, because I'm a devout Republican and completely disagree with its stance on illegal immigration. However, it is a very well-made movie, with a great script and acting. It's okay for teens and adults. There are two "f" words and two "s**t"s for language. Though some authority figures are nasty and three main characters break the law, the role models are positive: all main characters are kind and supportive.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (4 ):

Writer-director Tom McCarthy accomplishes a near miracle with THE VISITOR. He delivers a powerful, satisfying movie about racial politics and government missteps without any accusations, one-sided arguments, or rage. By telling the tender story of Walter's life-affirming reawakening through his relationship with Tarek and his family, McCarthy humanizes people who have made this country their home without the benefit of legal documentation.

Longtime character actor Jenkins' performance in his first "starring" role is perfection. Walter is nuanced, intelligent, and completely honest. And each of the other actors brings his or her own special artistry to difficult but sympathetic roles. As he did in his first directorial effort, The Station Agent, McCarthy tells a wonderful story about decent, hardworking, sincere people. This time around, it just happens that some of them weren't born here.

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