Monday, July 27, 2009

The Visitor

I loved this movie...even the not so perfectly happy ending. At the beginning of the film, the main character, a college professor in NJ, Walter, just goes through the motions of his life. He is a visitor in his own life, a watcher...on the sidelines...after all, his wife has died. So Walter tries to capture something of his life, his wife, by taking piano lessons (she was a concert pianist). But he fails horribly at it.

When he is called to present a paper at a conference in NYC for a colleague, he shows up at his apartment there (which he hasn't been at since his wife died) only to find two young lovers, immigrants, who have taken over the place. The interaction between these characters, the unlikely friendship that develops, brings Walter back to life. The kinship that occurs between the man, an illegal immigrant from Syria, who lives so present in the moment that he often forgets time, and Walter who is so imprisoned by time, ignites Walter. The Syrian teaches him his instrument, which Walter takes to almost immediately....kind of a metaphor for finding his own rhythm, his own way even when there continues to be loss.

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