A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Characters generally behave morally and ethically throughout. They exhibit sensitivity and appreciation for racial and cultural diversity. Two leading characters have expired visas and are in the U.S. illegally -- the consequences for that are severe. But despite unyielding, dispassionate government agencies, the individuals in authority are usually shown to be reasonable.
Violence & Scariness
Police are harsh when they arrest a man in a subway station.
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Brief cursing in just one early sequence, used to indicate fear and surprise: "what the f--k?," "motherf---er," and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Red wine is consumed on several occasions, but never to excess.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this thoughtful drama -- which celebrates the diversity of other cultures -- explores the hot-button issue of immigration. There's a little bit of swearing and some drinking, but overall the content is age-appropriate for teens, though very sensitive kids may be upset by the fact that the story doesn't spare the heartbreak that comes when families are separated abruptly. Characters pay dearly for their mistakes, even accidental ones. It's clear that the filmmaker has a strong point of view about U.S. policy since 9/11, but he attempts to be fair and even-handed. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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