In The Visitor (2008), Richard Jenkins plays the lonely widower, Prof. Walter Vale, who lives and works in Connecticut. His life is rudderless until he returns to his Manhattan apartment to speak at a conference. There he meets a young couple that change the course of his life.
The Visitor (2008) gives character actor Richard Jenkins the opportunity to play a leading man. But very little happens. His performance is monotonic. Perhaps that is what the life of a lonely professor is like, but it doesn’t make for a compelling story.
The bright spot for me was watching the performance of the relative newcomer Haaz Sleiman (who recently played Heydar on "24"). Sleiman helped coax some life back into Vale by, among other things, teaching him the African drums. I look forward to seeing more of Sleiman’s work in the future.
Given the buzz surrounding this movie I was expecting it to take a dramatic and interesting turn. It made a few unexpected turns, but it never got very interesting.
Richard Jenkins was nominated for Best Actor for this performance. While it may be one of his better performances, I didn’t find it Oscar worthy.
This movie may speak to those experiencing a later-life crisis or it may be interesting to those looking for a slow-paced character study. Otherwise I can’t recommend it to most movie goers.