Monday, July 21, 2008

The Visitor: a movie review

In an effort to escape the heat again yesterday, I went to see the Visitor. I had seen a preview for it, so I knew what it was about.

I knew it was about a terrifically handsome couple: both without proper paperwork. One is a Syrian drummer, played by the charismatic, Haaz Sleimann, the other is a jewelry artist from Senegal, played by the stunning Danai Jekesai Gurira.

The movie is about an aging, depressed, ambivalent professor who finds this young couple staying in his New York apartment. He befriends them, tries on their life, and then when tragedy strikes, he tries to help.

The music is amazing, the story is depressing. The way this country treats immigrants. Ugh.

Towards the end of the film, something interesting happened... I had to go to the bathroom. As I walked out of the theater, I realized that I didn't care what happened in the movie anymore. If the characters were deported, it would be too tragic to watch. If they weren't, then it would be too fictional for comfort.

So I left.

I wanted this couple to be joyful, to have full and interesting characters. I wanted to watch them drum and dance and laugh. They are young and beautiful - isn't that what they are supposed to do? But their lives in this country did not allow the comfort for all of that. And their lives in their own countries CERTAINLY did not allow for that. So instead they were tense, they were struggling, and they were dependant on some old, white dude to take mercy upon them and help.

The reality of life was everywhere in this film... and it made me so sad. The state of our world can be so depressing. Even if you have means, there are so many that struggle with so much.

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