The Visitor (15)

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The Independent Culture

Veteran character actor Richard Jenkins is excellent in The Visitor, playing a subtler version of the embittered academic we've seen in Smart People, The Squid and the Whale, and every other recent indie dramedy.

He's a withdrawn widower who's sent to an economics conference in New York, and finds himself sharing an apartment with an illegal immigrant couple from Syria and Senegal. It's well meaning, but simplistic: the white man is a stiff loner who never takes off his tie, and the immigrants are lively exotics who just want to make colourful jewellery and play funky rhythms on the drum. From a film that lectures the immigration department for failing to see the human beings behind the names and numbers, it's a bit rich.