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The Visitor Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… obvious, shallow and as subtle as Crash Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The Visitor tells of renewal through love. Its song is tinged with sadness, but stirring all the same.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    A compelling and illuminating story of four people who form an unlikely and momentary friendship of considerable depth.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    This audaciously issues-loaded indie drama works, improbably and entirely, on account of the marvelous, often familiar-looking, rarely starring character actor Richard Jenkins and his perfect performance as a stodgy, widowed economics professor.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    It is one of the year's most intriguing dramas, with a quartet of powerful performances.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Jenkins and The Visitor”make lovely music together. It’s a case of a veteran character actor slipping on a leading role like the most comfortable pair of pants in the world.

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  • See all The Visitor reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Insightful drama shatters post-9/11 stereotypes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this thoughtful drama -- which celebrates the diversity of other cultures -- explores the hot-button issue of immigration. There's a little bit of swearing and some drinking, but overall the content is age-appropriate for teens, though very sensitive kids may be upset by the fact that the story doesn't spare the heartbreak that comes when families are separated abruptly. Characters pay dearly for their mistakes, even accidental ones. It's clear that the filmmaker has a strong point of view about U.S. policy since 9/11, but he attempts to be fair and even-handed.

  • Families can talk about the wide range of attitudes toward people who are in the U.S. illegally. How do you think the filmmaker feels about the immigrant characters he has created? What contributions do they make to their adopted country? Does this movie change any of your ideas about people and families from the Middle East and Africa? What about immigration in general? What do you think the movie's final message is?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Characters generally behave morally and ethically throughout. They exhibit sensitivity and appreciation for racial and cultural diversity. Two leading characters have expired visas and are in the U.S. illegally -- the consequences for that are severe. But despite unyielding, dispassionate government agencies, the individuals in authority are usually shown to be reasonable.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Police are harsh when they arrest a man in a subway station.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false3

    Language: Brief cursing in just one early sequence, used to indicate fear and surprise: "what the f--k?," "motherf---er," and "s--t."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Red wine is consumed on several occasions, but never to excess.