Movie “The Visitor” a moving drama about US Immigration Deportation

By Michael Niren February 22, 2009 1 min. read

Movie portrays hardships of US deportation

I recommend seeing The Visitor, starring Richard Jenkins who is nominated for an Academy Award for best actor.

The Visitor is about a burnt-out college professor and widower who discovers two illegal immigrants living in his vacant New York apartment. Professor Vale, played by Richard Jenkins,  invites the couple–a young, Syrian musician named Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend (Danai Gurira)–to stay with him.

They develop a moving friendship and Vale for the first time since his wife’s death, begins to start enjoying life and relationships again.Things are looking up until Tarek in apprehended by US immigration authorities and threatened with deportation. His mother, Mouna (Hiam Abbass), turns up and stays with Vale.  The reality of US immigration policies come crashing down on the family. And Vale makes it his mission to help Tarek in his deportation plight.

The movie accurately depicts the reality for many facing deportation and the helplessness everyone involves feels at the seeming injustice of the legal process.  Of course the movie is a “Hollywood version” of US immigration and deportation issues. And not all deportations are played out this way.  However, there is some truth about how the characters deal with the trauma and finality of the US deportation process.

The Visitor is a good movie for anyone interested in a glimpse at what goes on in US deportation proceedings and how it emotionally effects everyone involved.