3.0, United States/Canada

The Visitor

2008 / Thomas McCarthy > With all the buzz surrounding Richard Jenkins’ bid for a Best Actor, it’s easy to watch and like this movie. But I can’t help but find it fundamentally flawed in its approach. I understand that people within America find the immigration system full of injustice, but often these are the same people who would complain if their jobs went overseas. Nobody’s going to have their cake and eat it too, but McCarthy throws away the subtlety from The Station Agent and pulls a Scott Templeton on us with his liberal guilt. Breaking the law is breaking the law—if you know what the consequences are, you shouldn’t be shocked to face them. But politics and social commentary aside, Jenkins deserves praise for his work, but I wouldn’t call it Oscar-calibre. His character’s development felt very calculated, not natural. In contrast, Hiam Abass’ portrayal of the mother was considerably more poetic, memorable and filled with heart. She could definitely slip in a Best Supporting Actress nomination on Jenkins’ coattails.