Tom McCarthy is not a man to be rushed, hence the five years between his debut as a writer/director, THE STATION AGENT, and his second effort, THE VISITOR. In between he continued his flourishing career as a working actor until the right inspiration struck. When we spoke on April 7, 2008, the conversation ranged from the surreality of a State Department sponsored cultural tour through the Middle East, to the disturbing civil rights vacuum when dealing with immigrants of the undocumented variety is involved.
Richard Jenkins, in his first starring role, plays Walter, a newly retired professor facing his golden years without his beloved wife. His decision to visit his pied-a-terre in New York City results in his meeting Tarek (Haaz Sleiman), an undocumented immigrant who has taken up residence in Walter’s apartment. At first shocked, then intrigued, and finally sympathetic, Walter begins to see a life with possibilities rather than merely marking time. THE VISITOR is a richly nuanced, emotionally involving character study. My only complaint is that it took so long to arrive on screen.