THE VISITOR ****

THE VISITOR is a perfect example of how well worn territory can come to exquisitely beautiful life and challenge your expectations – in a positive way – on every conceivable level.

WALTER VALE (RICHARD JENKINS) has been sleepwalking through a dull, lacklustre existence for several years now. He’s a college professor in Connecticut. He only teaches one class a semester because he’s simultaneously working on several books. But he’s had no real interest in anything since his wife (a lovely musician) passed away.

He’s in possession of a piano. He’s now on his sixth teacher and he’s about to quit his lessons. AGAIN. He has no real facility with or connection to this instrument aside from the fact that his wife played it. But he’s well into middle age and something of a curmudgeon. Being a great musical artiste does not appear to be in the cards.

Walter is roped into going to a conference in New York. He has no desire to lecture on a paper that he only looked at in passing. But the colleague that wrote it is ill and can not attend. So Walter reluctantly agrees to go.

He has an apartment in town that he uses whenever he’s in the city. But he’s been there very infrequently of late. When he arrives, he discovers that someone is living there. TAREK KHALIL, a Syrian man (HAAZ SLEIMAN) and his Senegalese girlfriend ZAINAB (DANAI GURIRA) are the victims of a real estate scam. A man that they met rented Walter’s apartment to them.

They had no idea that they were staying in someone else’s home. After an angry, highly charged confrontation, the air is cleared and everyone apologizes. Tarek and Zainab gather their things and leave.

Walter watches them through his apartment window. After observing them for a few minutes (they obviously have nowhere to go and they likely won’t find a place that night), he finds a picture frame that belongs to them. Walter follows them out to the street. Upon returning the item, he asks them if they’d like to stay and they agree to come back.

The arrangement works better than they had ever imagined. Though Zainab is a bit frosty to Walter initially (easily understood when you realize that she’s a woman living in a single man’s home) she grows to trust him and gradually finds it easy to be around him. Tarek and Walter get on well from the start.

Zainab is gorgeous and very artistic. She makes jewelry and is a consummate craftsperson. Tarek is a musician. He carries his drum everywhere. He offers to teach Walter but Walter informs him – emphatically – that he has no talent in that particular area. He can’t even learn the piano successfully.

But Tarek persists. He thinks it will be fun and something Walter will genuinely appreciate. Tarek turns out to be right. Walter blossoms under Tarek’s guidance.

Though Tarek and Zainab had plans to leave within a few days’ time they find themselves very comfortable at Walter’s. Walter is even slightly surprised at how hospitable he’s being. He finds that he likes having the two of them there. Far more than he ever thought possible.

Then, one afternoon when Walter and Tarek are about to board the subway, Tarek is arrested. The police state that Tarek jumped the turnstile. Tarek truthfully insists that he paid and was just struggling to get his drum through.

But, in a post 9/11 environment, Tarek is easily identified as a person of Middle Eastern origin. Despite Walter’s very strong protestations, they take Tarek to jail. Walter dreads coming home to tell Zainab what happened and it turns out to be much worse than he initially thought. She explains that she and Tarek are illegal aliens. She doesn’t even want to think about what might happen to him now.

Walter has not had much motivation to do anything for a very long time. But he has bonded significantly with these young people in just over a week. He cares about their respective fates and he finds that he can’t sit idly by and do nothing to help. So he finds a lawyer and does everything that he can to secure Tarek’s release.

They move Tarek to a detention centre. Zainab tells Walter that she was in one when she first came to the US. She was there for months. No one knew where she was and nobody could help her. She was only let go because they decided to release all of the women. She doesn’t know what happened to the men. Zainab thinks they might still be there.

When Walter visits Tarek in the centre, his enormous dark eyes are filled with fear and pain. “I don’t want to do anything bad,” he says. “I just want to live my life and play my drum.”

It’s hard to be overly sympathetic to individuals who get themselves caught up in such dilemmas. If you’re in a country illegally these are the sorts of things that do transpire. But Tarek and Zainab are such kind, decent people. Their situation is absolutely heartbreaking.

Zainab leaves Walter’s apartment and moves in with her cousin. Immediately after, Tarek’s mother arrives from her new home in Michigan. She usually talks to her son every day. When she didn’t hear from him for some time she instinctively felt something was wrong. She arrives on Walter’s doorstep unannounced.

MOUNA KHALIL (HIAM ABBASS) is a sophisticated elegant widow in Walter’s age bracket. Mouna thinks that Walter’s apartment is actually Tarek’s and Walter allows her to believe that he is staying there with him. Walter invites Mouna to stay. At first she feels that it would be inappropriate. But she eventually decides to accept Walter’s generous offer.

The progression of the relationship and growing closeness between Walter and Mouna is completely authentic and realistic. The three of them are all working steadily towards Tarek’s eventual release. But there is no way of knowing if he will be let out, moved to another facility or stay in detention indefinitely.

We’ve all seen many motion pictures about the reawakening of passion in a person’s life – and an individual or a series of incidents is the catalyst for a lead character to go through a deeply felt transition. Through this immense change their lives are improved and they come to see things in a whole new way.

This is a similar story. But THE VISITOR is really something special. There is a great delicateness to this film. It is incredibly moving and very much like life in its natural rhythms.

By the half way point, you are completely hooked. It may take some time for it to exercise its magic on you. But once it does, there’s no going back.

The ending is a little abrupt and it may not be exactly what you expect. The characters are so enjoyable that it’s sad to leave them behind. But within a few minutes, you come to the conclusion that this is probably what would have happened in reality. In retrospect, it does make a lot of sense.

If you’ve seen THE STATION AGENT, then you’re aware of the fact that THOMAS McCARTHY (who directed and wrote THE VISITOR) is a superb actor’s director. That is no great shock when you observe how much acting is on his actual resume. Most directors haven’t acted – and one who has knows exactly what you’re up against when you create a character from scratch and attempt to use your own unique skills to bring a fictional human being to life.

The principal performers (Ms. Abbas, Ms. Gurira and Mr. Sleiman) are all fantastic. But Mr. Jenkins is a revelation. To say that he doesn’t disappoint is the understatement of the century. He is so marvelously subtle. He makes Walter’s changes relatable, easy to comprehend and utterly real.

THE VISITOR is deeply moving, wonderfully made and remarkable in so many different respects. It makes a very strong statement about the inherent graciousness and benevolence of people. It speaks softly but with great power.

If audiences ignore it it would be a dismal shame, as it’s definitely one of the brightest lights of 2008.

But, even if that happens, the Academy is unlikely to make the same mistake.

26 Responses to “THE VISITOR ****”

  1. glimmer Says:

    this is a letter sent to those that sub to the land market newsletter thing…

    don’t know if you’ve seen it, m.

    Subject: A letter from Tom McCarthy, director of THE VISITOR!
    Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2008 15:01:53 -0700

    Dear Film Club Member,

    After a recent preview screening of my new film, The Visitor, someone asked me why it is that I always make films about lonely people. In my first film, The Station Agent, I focused on a lonely rail fan. In The Visitor, I turn my attention to Walter Vale, a lonely economics professor. Well, my immediate response to the question was that lonely people are funny. Consider any lonely person you know and chances are that it’s easy to laugh at them, or at the very least make fun of them.

    I sat on this answer for about a day, at which point I came to the conclusion I must be a bad person. I mean who laughs at lonely people? It’s like laughing at depressed people. In fact, most lonely people are depressed, so I was, in effect, laughing at depressed people too, and thereby disparaging two segments of humanity with one answer. This did, in fact, seem like the action of a bad person and that was unsettling to me. I have always considered myself to be a good person. I was convinced there must be another spin on this, so I set to some further reflection.

    And it was upon this further reflection that it suddenly occurred to me I was a lonely person. But this wasn’t troubling. In fact, it was just the opposite. You see, I would never laugh at myself. I’m just too fragile for self-mockery. So there must be another reason I make movies about lonely people. And if there is then maybe, just maybe, it’s a good one. Another spin. I decided to try my luck and I set to even further reflection. (Most of my reflections have been fruitless. Two successful reflections in a row are unheard of in my personal history.)

    And then…Eureka! Just like that, another discovery. I don’t make films about lonely people at all. Rather, I make films about people, lonely and not, connecting with other people. That was the spin. A lonely person just always seemed like a good starting point. So, yes, I may stand rightly accused of being somewhat redundant in terms of my central characters’ key personality traits but at least I’m not bad. I mean, only a good person would make films about people connecting. Right?

    In truth, be I bad or good, I have always been fascinated with how and why people connect. Especially people that come from different walks of life. In The Visitor, Walter Vale ends up befriending a young Syrian musician, his Senegalese girlfriend and his doting mother. How these four people come into contact is both comical and dramatic, but is certainly best left for you to discover on your own.

    The “why” of their connection involves an African drum, the Staten Island Ferry, a United States Detention Facility and The Phantom of the Opera. I know what you’re thinking: Oh…that old story. But trust me when I say I think I’ve found an original spin. See…it’s all about spin.

    The spin of a good person.

    I do hope you go see and enjoy The Visitor.

    Tom McCarthy, Director

  2. glimmer Says:

    m., i caught a screening of the vistor in late april. and i’m putting it in the good but not essential category. and yep i liked it more than young@heart…

    and sorry i don’t think that the academy is gonna show the vistor much love. why? it’s too low key. it’s not trad enough to make an imapct. it’s not weird enough either..

    it’s not gonna do massive box office.

    jenkins may have the the current lead in the potentail best actor thing/for now…even a.d. has him listed as a contendor. but i think he’s gonna get lost when the other stuff hits.

    again his acting wasn’t flashy enough/not gonna do mega box office. and the vibe i got from the screening audience was they hated the ‘slower’ start of the film… it was ok for me.but i think so slowly… 😉

    this awards season is gonna be full of heartbreak/and disappointmnet… don’t think the vistor or jenkins is gonna pull it off.

    but you what m./ i’m here to console you if it all falls apart.

    the ending of the vistor was ok for me. seems walter has been reenergized despite what happened. he’s been changed.

    hey he was by himself in the last scene. could you have pictured that when the movie started ???

  3. Miranda Wilding Says:

    glim, I have NOT seen that TOM McCARTHY letter. Thank you so very much for sending it along.

    He sounds like a real gem. Such a kind, decent, sensitive guy with great soul and a good heart. Being fully aware of how cutthroat the film industry can be, I’m amazed that he’s been such a success. But that’s wonderful to know. Maybe that happens more often than I think it does.

    It’s always interesting to know what processes artists employ and what their motivations are for creation – whether they work in film, television or theatre and are actors, writers, directors – or are employed in some other kind of media. I think that stuff is always fascinating.

    I’d love to work with Mr. McCarthy. He seems like he’d be an easy person to get along with. No authoritarian nonsense. You could have an exchange of ideas with him and he would actually allow you to express your point of view. That’s the problem with a lot of directors. They’re at the top of the heap and they feel that that entitles them to be tyrants. There’s no room at all for discussion or collaboration – and your working life can be HELL.

    That was very cool of you to bring that by, glim. You’re such a sweetheart. It’s awesome to have you here…

  4. Miranda Wilding Says:

    ******MINOR SPOILERS******

    glim, what you say about the Academy ignoring Mr. Jenkins and THE VISITOR itself makes perfect sense and, unfortunately, is a very likely scenerio. But I can still hope until next January, right? I’m well aware that its early release probably dooms it to awards obscurity and it is a quiet (albeit powerful) little movie.

    Mr. Jenkins has been around a LONG time. He’s worked with many people over the course of his career and I hear he’s a very nice guy that’s exceptionally well liked. If he gets some critical attention and Academy members are willing to vote for him (in bigger numbers than we would be aware of at this point) that just might send him over the top.

    The biggest avalanches start with one little snowflake, you know…

    The ending did bother me. For a good five minutes. When I saw Walter at the subway station with his drum and the screen beginning to fade to black, I thought, OH GOD NO. DON’T END IT LIKE THIS. Not only is he by himself, but nothing has really been resolved. We don’t really know what’s going to happen in the future.

    And then I thought, yeah, but this is REAL. Some days you win the lottery and get all the goodies. Next day the hard rain comes pouring down. You never really know what’s going to happen in the future.

    Despite not being sure (as a viewer) what lies ahead for Walter, he has been changed greatly. Reenergized, as you stated precisely. Whatever happens to him from that point on, he can deal. He feels he has a purpose and a reason to get up in the morning. His passion has been reawakened – and it was a real joy to see Mr. Jenkins play Walter and to go through all of the emotions and circumstances that finally take him to that place where he sits by the subway, joyfully drumming.

    No, I NEVER thought (for one second) that the movie would end that way. But it’s really quite perfect when you take the time to intellectualize it.

    Thank you for saying that you’ll be here to console me if THE VISITOR (and Mr. Jenkins) gets lost in the shuffle. You’re one of my big favourites at this place, glim. I don’t know what I’d do without you…

  5. glimmer Says:

    s p o i l e r s

    m., we did sort of geek an ending didn’t mouna/walter have a discussion which basically said tarek wouldn’t be allowed to return to the states…

    OH GOD NO. DON’T END IT LIKE THIS.

    funny you mention that i remember hearing a no or did i hear two?? when we get the drumming/then the credits i heard a few groans too. i guess the film sucked people in despite the slow start . 🙂

    (i’m basing my slow’bit on well that’s what the lady sitting next to me said to her friend/and additional slow type comments as i hit the wide band ears as people were leaving/as i stayed in the lobby a bit afterwards. really the vibe i got at the start of the movie people really seemed to want something to happen. anything. people were over laughing at the funny bits at the start of film. it seemed a little bit forced but as the movie progressed/the audience felt into the film. flow/undertow)

    if this means anything… i liked the vistor more than iron man (talk about over rated/no wonder i usually miss/avoid this super hero stuff….)

    and i did like seeing film with an older/non sexy guy as the male lead. 🙂

    i liked jenkins’ acting. but will it be remembered not only at oscar time but when the 6000 other award/guild stuff hits ?? hmm….

    i’m not familiar with richard jenkins. hmm sorry….you think as oscar nom could happen. sort like peter o’toole got the nom for venus and that didn’t have massive box office. even with the oscar nom….that did less money than iron man likely did in my state the weekend that just went by….

    so i wouldn’t be bothered by a jenkins nom (but yeah we’ll have to see what else is coming..) but look at the sort of male performances that have won the best male thing oscar wise the last couple. pretty un walter like..yes ????

    if it only comes to one… i’d rather the visitor get a best pic nom than jenkins getting the best actor nom.

    you know..something for all the lonely people out there. 🙂

    ok a lot shown/said through the movie that proves walter has changed (hell i think even he was surprised)

    but i think the drums symbolize this. you remember when tarek told walter (something similiar too) you like classical music/you’re thinking in 4’s,but need to think in 3’s to play whatever sort of drums that’s used in the film (sorry i’m less a musical artiste than walter is at the start of the fim. ha ha…)

    and he got good enough at the drums to play with the group in the park. and with the final scene of him alone with the drums in the subway (same subway where tarek was arrested ???)

    we know walter has changed. were not sure what’s gonna happen next for him. but we know he’s changed. and you know you may think it’s bad we don’t see how the transformation gonna change his life… well it’s even sadder that the agents that brought about the change won’t be able to see it either…

    anyway m. would the visitor trailer for the vistor would have sold you on the film ??? or was it because of your being familiar with a couple of names in the film ??

    for me…. uh well it was free screening and i figured since a.d. lists jenkins as a potential best actor thing. i better see it. to join in the net madness. ha ha ha…

    m. weird fact about me…version #37. i don’t have pc speakers.( don’t really have space for them) and it this point i think i prefer silence or headphones. oh well maybe i should start learning the drums…. 😉

  6. glimmer Says:

    m., the letter from mccarthy. well, i was surprised i saw the visitor screening on april 23. and very surprised the letter showed up the 25th.

    i guess the same letter goes out to whomever on the landmark list whenever the visitor opens in their area….

    hmm do you think mccarthy being a writer and director shield him from the cut throat thing you mention ?? or you’re just surprised he’s gotten this far and still be nice…..

    what you mention about discussion or collaboration betwen director/actor. huh i thought it was always like that. huh…..it isn’t ??

    ha ha ok so a director can be a tyrant but doesn’t to appear that way to the public. lame…

    i think the visitor had a bigger impact on you than me. but that’s ok…

    maybe i needed this movie less since i’m already a lonely person. ha ha ha…

    but i do wish the best on the ‘The biggest avalanches start with one little snowflake’ front…floating higher….. 🙂

    ok plot twist/slight addition time..

    best film so far this year (pay attention mtv) in bruges (yay ! )

    best sex scene paranoid park…

  7. Miranda Wilding Says:

    ******SPOILERS******

    Yeah, glim. When Mouna left to visit Tarek in Syria after the deportation, Walter did say to her, “He can’t come back, you know, “ and then she smiled and said, “I know. But I want to be there for him.”

    I’ve worked with lawyers. But not the kind that deal with immigration and that sort of thing. So, as far as I know, that is correct. IF YOU ARE DEPORTED, YOU CAN’T EVER RETURN. If you were foolish enough to even try to sneak back in the country again, they would lock you up and throw away the key. I do believe that if you’re kicked out of the country then that’s the end of the line. There are no loopholes available that would allow you back.

    So the frustrating thing for Walter (and for the audience) is, is Mouna coming back? Even if she intends on returning to the US, will she miss her son so much – after all, they talked on the phone every day – that when she gets to Syria will she change her mind?

    I do believe that Mouna IS coming back to the States. But the end does leave you hanging in a way.

    Yeah, if people were going, “Oh, no,” even under their breath and making disappointed kinds of noise, then they did get very involved in the film. Otherwise they wouldn’t have cared.

    Hmmm…Interesting that your particular audience found THE VISITOR so slow. I didn’t at all. I found my perception changed after about an hour into it. I liked it immediately. I didn’t find that the pace dragged or anything. But, at around the half way mark, I went from thinking it was a pleasant little movie to really becoming involved – and never wanting it to end.

    I’ll see Iron Man by the weekend. So I can’t compare the two as of yet. It may be very entertaining. But I can’t see how it can top THE VISITOR. But stranger things have happened…

    glim, I had heard the title of the film floating around for a few months now. But I never connected it to anything. People were all ready talking about it to some degree right around the Oscar ceremony. I think Craig had some discussion about it as they see a lot of films as well. But I guess I wasn’t really paying attention. Then, some weeks ago, I finally saw the trailer. It was just like a light bulb went on over my head.

    NOW I GET IT.

    I’ve loved RICHARD JENKINS for years. He’s always been a character actor. Never had a big part in anything. I’ve not only seen him in tons of films, but he played the dad in SIX FEET UNDER. I own all five seasons of that. It’s one of my favourite TV shows ever – and he’s one of the reasons why I connected so deeply to that program.

    I knew THOMAS McCARTHY from THE STATION AGENT, which was a film that I greatly admired. But I was just dumbfounded…and then kind of excited. Usually when character actors hit middle age (in film and television anyway – theatre can be a little different) it’s pretty much over for them. Unfortunate but very often true.

    If they haven’t made it to a certain level in their careers by the time that they hit their 40s/50s and they’re just basically working actors it’s extremely rare that they ever get any great opportunities after that.

    Acting in film and tv is basically for young people. There aren’t a lot of desirable parts for anyone over 60. Even the men. You can play someone’s grandmother or somebody’s dad. But it’s generally not a lead role. The rationale that any casting director will give someone in that position (whether it’s true or not) is, Well, if you’re any good, why haven’t you done better for yourself? If you are such a fine actor, why have you only ever done supporting roles? Wouldn’t anyone hire you as a lead?

    So I was INCREDIBLY happy that Mr. Jenkins finally got his shot. According to IMDB, he is around 60. Even though he doesn’t look that old. I was thinking that he was likely never going to have something like this happen for him. I’m tremendously glad it did.

    As for the guys that have won the Best Actor Oscar the last few years, I think it goes back and forth. DDL was tightly controlled. Pitch perfect. But not really subtle. SEAN PENN (in MYSTIC RIVER) was just as powerful. Bold in an ultramasculine way. Not subtle AT ALL. But PSH and ADRIEN BRODY were. Neither of them had any big scenes where they overemoted or anything. So the Academy does go for that sometimes.

    glim, if Mr. McCarthy can write his own projects then he can generate a lot of work for himself, which is always an excellent thing. The more you have to bargain with, the better. If you have more than one thing that you’re good at, then you have more stuff at your disposal to keep people interested.

    If you can write screenplays and direct, then you’re really independent and you can create a lot of product while you’re waiting for something to happen. So it does protect him to an extent. Someone else can always direct his screenplays if he doesn’t want to – and if it is a property that he wishes to develop himself it gives him much more control.

    That’s exactly why WOODY ALLEN became a film director early on. He was tired of his scripts getting into the wrong hands. He had precise ideas for all of them and decided that he’d rather have complete control – and that’s what he did.

    Well, some people have actually gone on record as to who some of these directors are. Whether or not these stories are true, I have no idea. I imagine some people are ALWAYS difficult and rude, regardless of anything else. There are some people that aren’t jackasses until they make it big – and then it really goes to their heads. But sometimes it’s actually no one’s fault. It’s just a clash of personalities.

    But I have heard lots about various directors over the years. Some are still with us. Some not. But there are a number that have terrible reputations. Having never met these guys (and they still usually are men, even to this very day) I really couldn’t tell you if there’s anything to it or not.

  8. I think this is your best review yet, Miranda. It’s amazing how certain films can inspire us to write our best and The Visitor most certainly has.

    I have to say I wanted to like it more than I ultimately did, though I think I only liked it a teeny bit less than you. I had some minor quibbles where I felt McCarthy was trying too hard to make a point and it got in the way of the beautiful emotional story between Walter and Tarek.

    I also liked Jenkins a great deal, I didn’t know he had that depth of sadness in him, but Slieman shouldn’t be overlooked. His character was terrific. A little frustrating but loveable. He reminded me a teeny bit of Joe in Station Agent. He had a similar, playful, rascally, but highly charming quality to him.

  9. Miranda Wilding Says:

    Craig, I thank you from the very bottom of my coal black heart. You have been my mentor and good friend for some time now. Having someone who writes as well as you giving me that kind of acknowledgment means a great deal. Much more than you know.

    I find writing reviews is getting simpler. Though it still takes longer than I would like. The words flow easily. But I want to give people a genuine sense of how each film plays out so that they can make up their own minds – and you do need to go into a certain kind of detail to make that possible. I’m beginning to experiment with different forms. I don’t want to just launch into a synopsis of the story and then merely evaluate every time. I want them all to be uniquely different and to stand alone entirely. That may not be possible. How many different ways can you do it?

    But I’ll keep trying. I keep remembering that review you did for Juno (at your blog LIVING IN CINEMA) where you explained your dissatisfaction with the film in the form of a break up letter to the main character. In spite of the fact that we split on the film (I loved it enough to see it four times in the theatre), the wit and the grace involved with that was tremendous.

    You and I do enough of these things that it may not be possible to attempt something like that consistently. I’m just trying to get away from that sense of uniformity and sameness. Don’t want them all to be cookie cutter. Just would like to be cutting edge and innovative. At least part of the time.

    Your reaction to THE VISITOR (in that you wanted to like it more than you actually did) could be something that a certain portion of the audience may relate to. It’s a poignant touching film with a lot of heart. People may be moved but some may leave the theatre wishing it had gotten to them on a deeper level.

    I don’t know. I was really taken by surprise and thoroughly enraptured by it – and I’m a pretty hard sell. But everyone obviously will see it through different eyes and their own personal reactions will form regardless.

    I agree totally. Mr. Sleiman is terrific in this. All of the principals more than rose to the challenge here.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve acted myself so I’m readily acquainted with that kind of expression. Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that I’ve witnessed this kind of thing happen many times before. (Maybe a bit of both?) But I’ve seen enough of Mr. Jenkins’ filmography (I grew up watching him, actually) that I knew he could just belt this out of the park. It’s almost instinctual with me. Once I was aware that he had a role like this I was sure he would make the most of it. I am so happy that he was given an opportunity like this. I feel like my granddad won the lottery.

    It was his time. I think it’s wonderful that he’s making the most of it. He worked towards a moment like this for many many years. Glad it happened for him. He genuinely deserves it.

    Thank you for the kind words, Craig. Means a lot.

    *flips blonde mane* You don’t visit very often any more. Nice to know you haven’t abandoned me…

  10. glimmer Says:

    m. babysitters… i loved it. could this film be lock for my top 10 this year ?? the answer seems very yes. really i almost can’t imagine this film getting out of my list. and maybe i’ll see enough films this year to do a top 10 list. ha ha…

    babysitters could be this years lars/and the real girl for me. not that they’re similiar and i don’t this as good as lars but may win the award for movie that what’s it about/plot think mist are obsessed it…

    really doesn’t give you a clue has to what you’re gonna see on screen. fake out/fake out/shout…

    sorry, metacritic is wrong. but yeah they liked iron man so whatever…

    i do like metacritic but it seems films i like never get that high a score.(see lars or in bruges) and now films i like ‘blueberry’/’babysitters’ are so in fail category there. ha ha…

  11. Miranda Wilding Says:

    Babysitters opened here last Friday. The critic that we have for the local paper (we have two major ones in this area) hated it. But I quite often disagree with her anyway.

    Is Babysitters really that good, glim? I wasn’t going to see it. Do you really think it’s worth it?

  12. glimmer Says:

    don’t worry all critics are hating babysitters. ha ha…

    this is embarrassing but m.

    if insert cliches just as tension so thick you could cut it with knife. my twiching in my seat/being on the edge of seat….

    being on pins and needles (actually i was on pin/needles because i’m into acupuncture. ha ha i never tire of that joke…)

    seriously m. it’s likely just me. but no action film or thriller could have gotten this response from me. (i sort hated to see what was coming next…yet i had to know…)

    me and the three and i only spelled it as three other people in the theatre were rather into it. although it’s sad when i go to a movie and i’m the youngest in the audience. ha ha…

    this movie is neither as cautionary tale (yep i’m saying that despite the ending) nor is cheap sex fest /yeah there sex scene but you see less. hell you pretty much see no nudity. (except for the one topless scene from the female lead)

    so all those saying seems like a late night cable flick. yeah you could watch that if you want your nudity fix. and your cliche fixes too…

    i guess everyone will be f**king happy if this film only does less than $300,000 while juno does over $143 million. ha ha ha…

    is anyone even watching this movie (the babysitters) ??? if so how the hell do they think it’s about sex ?? which what a reviews are focusing on.

    and again the sex in the film doesn’t even have the ‘hot’ factor going for it/nor does it try to…

    should you watch the babysitters (well, it’s in the theatres) yes and hell yes.

    how this movie gets only 29% at rt and 35% at metacritic is beyond me. especially considering all the fluff both those pages have put to the top.

    so yes you should watch it. especially if your gonna see more than 30 movies the theatre this year. why not ?? 😉

    well you like more than i do. probably not. well you like more than 35%…i bet you will…

    maybe this movie wasn’t ‘gritty’/downbeat enough for critics. maybe it wasn’t enough of a morality play..

    maybe there upset they can’t tag this movie has juno meets superbad….

    maybe this movie would be more ‘ok’ if if it was teen guys with milf’s types ?? hell no one ever has a problem with that. lame double standards

    actually for me the movie avoids/sidesteps alot i don’t what it is but i liked it.

    everyone else can hate it. and then they give praise to lame blockbuster movie # 5,000 or a generic comedy. uh yeah…thanks…

    maybe this movie is just for me.

    no i have no idea what i’m saying typing. (happy)

    but i gonna stand tall for this movie. this is sooo set to rank higher than #10 on year end best of list.

    unlike let’s say juno or paranoid park (which i liked) i don’t think critics even want to see representation of teens like this.(whether the movie is good or bad..)

    i want more films like the babysitters and less damn pixar.

    less guys blowing stuff up. (it’s obvious i don’t have a penis..)

    gimme some more stories that i guess shouldn’t be told/and are told badly… 😉

    m. maybe this year i could do a top 5 list and have nothing that gets over 75% at metacritic. ha ha ha…

  13. Miranda Wilding Says:

    Yeah, I think the fact that you had very young girls (as in underage – because they were high school students, right?) and older (mostly 40ish {?} ) men turned a lot of people off.

    I mean, this kind of stuff is old hat. But it depends how far they go with it and to what degree. In 1983, Tom Cruise had his first big hit with that crapfest Risky Business. There are some surface similarities in terms of plot. But those girls were all pros and college age. (At least – and the guys were mostly young.) But, from what I’ve heard, there was no critical ganging up in force against RB or anything like that.

    There is kind of a double standard, I agree. If underage girls are having sex with adults (even if it’s completely consensual) a lot of people do have a fit. But if it’s a young boy or a group of guys with an older woman (or women) some people are willing to let that pass. It’s ridiculous. But this is how it goes. Lots of people think that young girls are vulnerable and shouldn’t be exploited or taken advantage of. ALL TOO TRUE. But if it’s a young boy with a grown woman, people are like, “Well, he’s a guy. He would want to get laid anyway. She was doing him a favour.”

    That’s BS. Adults shouldn’t be playing around with underage kids. Even 17 year olds. This is why there are laws. I think that young boys are just as vulnerable and fragile when they’re little kids/adolescents. Sometimes, depending on their individual personalities, EVEN MORE SO. It’s just that there’s all this misinformation out there in the media about how guys should be and the way men areand a lot of it is complete garbage. I’ve been close to lots of men and I genuinely know the score. On all those fronts. Believe me.

    In the case of The Babysitters, it has a lot to do with the subjects I just touched on. Also, I’m sure, the whole morality thing comes into it. (The guys are all married, right? Plus the schoolgirls aren’t just banging these guys for a good time. Aren’t they paying for it, with the girls accepting money for sexual favours? As far as satire goes, I think that that crosses the line for a lot of critics and moviegoers. The film critic in my town said it was sexist and she was really offended by the film. But I hear a lot of individuals harping on a lot of things that they think are sexist that don’t bother me at all.)

    Well, I wasn’t going to see it. But if you say it’s good – or worthwhile – I might just check it out, glim.

  14. Miranda Wilding Says:

    No, glim. You’re not babbling. Everyone that comes here that has a legitimate comment is free to say whatever they please – and you have raised some very intelligent points concerning The Babysitter and the hypocrisy of the collective media.

    You are dead on about a LOT of this stuff, glim. Absolutely.

    Maybe some of these people had problems with the film because it showed these girls exploiting these guys (FOR MONEY) when they – apparently – were just trying to use these girls for their own selfish purposes anyway.

    It’s a film so it’s going to be slightly exaggerated and dramatic. But the circumstances are certainly NOT unrealistic. People get bored in their marriages, especially if they’ve been with the same partner for many years. They don’t necessarily want to leave. Or walking out of that marriage may be more difficult than they would like because they have to pay major money out that they’d just as soon not part with. So people do find ways of getting their needs met (sex, affection, romance – what have you) and many are certainly not unwilling to pay for that specifically.

    It always seems to be guys, though. But, trust me on this, MANY women would be willing to pay for sex if they were sure there would be no serious repercussions. (As in, they wouldn’t catch anything and their lives wouldn’t be at risk.) Women have all the same longings and the same needs as guys. But it hasn’t been socially acceptable for women to do many things that guys did up until the last century – and certainly MUCH has changed drastically for women since the 60s.

    As far as the movie goes, though, I’m glad that you don’t assume that the majority of those girls are virgins. That would just be SAD. What girl would want to think that her first sexual experiences centred around servicing some horny married middle aged dude with kids who didn’t care about her or respect her (much less LOVE her) and was only doing it to get off? ICK. If you’ve been through a few boys by the time you make such a stupid decision, then it’s not such a big deal. But to have the beginnning of your womanhood tainted like that…

    As for the real life incidents…

    I did notice – in the American media – this particular attitude regarding these idiotic teacher broads that molested the young boys that they taught at school. It seemed the more attractive the woman was (as in, the more stereotypically hot) the less it seemed like a crime. Well, not only to the media but to the judges as well.

    This made me SICK to my stomach because I know if that had been say, a 27 year old guy having sex or an inappropriate relationship with a 15 or 16 year old girl people would’ve wanted to string him up by his…feet. Just because someone’s an attractive blonde and bats her baby blue eyes doesn’t mean she’s any less evil. Even though she seems outwardly angelic.

    This is my take, glim. But it’s ONLY MY OPINION. I sincerely hope I don’t offend anyone. But here I go…

    I don’t think anyone (boy OR girl) should be having sex with ANYBODY ANY TIME ANYWHERE before they’re 16. PERIOD. Even At that age – if you’re mature and sophisticated – it can be very hard to handle a sexual relationship. (Let’s say I know this from experience.) Same thing if you’re 17 or 18. But people have to grow up and learn about life some time – and that’s all part of it. So by the time you’re 16 if you’re ready to take it to the wall, fine.

    BUT NOT BEFORE.

    I personally DON’T think that anyone over 30 should be dating teenagers. But that’s my personal morality. It’s NOT illegal. I just think that an 18 or a 19 year old (no matter how worldly and mature) shouldn’t be subjected to that. The power dynamic is kind of off. It’s not even the age difference because ten or fifteen years between ADULTS is really nothing. But when you’re in that age bracket, well…

    There are so many kids/adolescents that have been abused and exploited by adults. Thank God it never happened to me. But a lot of people that I’m close to and know well have had experiences like that. It scars a lot of people for life – and it’s horrible and unnecessary.

    So I hate hearing about it. Knowing that people have lived through that horror. It’s just disgusting. Kids should be able to be kids and, when they’re ready, be able to have healthy sexual experiences that will enrich their lives – or at least be enjoyable and positive.

    That’s the way it should be but…

    And Iron Man (except for RDJ and JEFF BRIDGES) completely blows…

  15. glimmer Says:

    the babysitters is hard to pin down. i wouldn’t label it a satire….nor a sex comedy…not will it fill the bill for those wanting some ultra gritty/expose the ‘evil’ of the suburban under belly/please expose it for 300th time type tone either. nope not this film…

    i’m not sure uh what this film is (aside from it deserving rating higher than 29 % at rt and 35% metacritic..)

    also problematic for some may be well the female teens aren’t forced into it. nope. do they have drug problems leading as ‘gateway’ to teen ‘pro’ thing, nope..

    are they ‘tricked into doing it ?? nope

    are they kidnapped and forced into it. nope..

    are they doing this because if they don’t they’re gonna get thrown into the street/to pay for rent etc. ?? ah no…and nope…

    are they doing because they se it as ‘easy money’/to maybe have a bit of ‘fun’/to able to buy whatever clothes they lie or get new cellphone whatever…or maybe save some money for college too.

    hmm these could be factoring in…and if your gonna be a teen ‘pro’ especially a teen ‘pro’ sleeping with much older men you better have a better reason then.

    and yeah m. it was definitely pay to play. and you know what i mean…

    the rate started at $200. and then went up to $300. and the extra hundred didn’t stop or slow down the ‘interest’ a bit..

    yeah so their paying $300 so yeah they could have went to uh a..non teen. but then/we may not have the movie would we…

    any yes m. in the reality i get what your saying about why we have laws.

    but in the context of this movie/and movies in general i don’t give a damn. yep to hit the cliche machine if we’re gonna void of things people don’t want to happen in real life. well that would be good because i wouldn’t have to read about gangster mob movie number 520,000.

    i’m glad that whomever behind the babysitters just set up on telling the story not trying to make it an ultimate cautionary tale/not an ultra ‘moralist’ story. just set on telling the tale..

    and i’m sure big critics docked a notch for that.

    lord or whomever knows. not in this movie to the teen females make their choices (not forced) to have sex with the older guys. you suspect when this over thier not gonna be significant psychic damage to the females. or at least one of them. you know the sort in which she’ll need 80 years of therapy or not even want to have sex with a guy for 20 years.

    or at least be publicly humilated or get a broken leg… uh something. nope sorry..

    actually a couple things do happen but theyre not ‘harsh’ to satisfy the morality crowd (go watch a ‘for the guys’ crime movie and shut up. and enjoy guys getting shot…)

    and it fits because the tone because this isn’t big morality play type thing happening… and look into my eyes as i say *thank god*….

    i mean i bet people are saying/wishing could the older guys in the movie have been presented as the ultimate scum/the root of all evil types. uh sorry no…nah sorry critics go back to your crime crap or pretending iron man is one best movies of the decade or something…

    even weirder or likely to unintentionally cause an undertow of more hate by the ‘moralist’ types. is the pay sex stuff sort of happens in a vacuum. you know these teens aren’t out there risking things with strangers. (exposing themselves to the worst potential dangerous)

    it’s more when shirley has sex with michael. he tells a friend. and that friend wants something similiar. and then then another guy gets told and he wants a babysitter too…

    and i actually think there’s layer of cautionary tale floating through out the babysitters but not obviously enough to sedate/happify most…

    and another interesting twist the teen females aren’t seen having sex with teen guys. or even talking about wanting to have sex wityh teen guys. nope the sex stuff is only with/for the older guys..and only for pay…(although it’s not implied all the females in ‘the ring’ are/were virgins. pre older guys for pay…)

    here i am again m. babbling and saying stuff…and maybe not saying too to well. but that’s ok..because i guess no one or few are gonna say it …now.

    but they won’t shut up about iron man. yep i’m talking pro critics. yep they wouldn’t shut up about superbad either…

    so as bad or incoherently i say it. as many spelling/grammatical mistakes pop up. it’s just me that gonna say it. where are all the heroes… ??

    nah i guess it’s just me…..guess i’m here to rep the loser kids all three of us…

    But if it’s a young boy with a grown woman, people are like, “Well, he’s a guy. He would want to get laid anyway. She was doing him a favour.”

    it’s cool you mention that. you know when the states had those male teens/sleeping with female students. most..whether female or male admitted they they likely would have had a different reaction if it was male teacher sleeping with a female teen….

    and people sort of even had a less a ‘problem’ with female teacher/male teen/pre teen thing. when they saw photos of some the teachers…

    the usual thinking. and you got to love it ??? yes.. ??

    again i don’t think the babysitters is about sex scenes. which again aren’t ‘hot’ or anything trust me. the titillation factor is pretty low..so it’s cool critics aren’t even paying attention. but they’ve memorized every detail of iron man. awesome…

    and i’m sure the ‘teen’s in the babysitters are at least 20 or something. but maybe it they looked like they were 35/everyone would be happy….

    and it would have likely been more ‘problematic’ for critics if the teens were having sex with the older guys and money weren’t exchanged ??

    oh forget it lets’ go back to male teens wanting to lose their virginity or sleeping with older females (or wanting to) *yeah*

    ‘i don’t think this film was exploitative surprise.

    ‘protection’ ?? i get your point that in the reality adults should be providing protection/insight/wisdom encouragement to kids…. not sleeping with them…

    and in the reality i would blame the kids for wanting to sleep with some older. it should be the adults saying no. or making sure ‘this’ wasn’t on the table..

    but if you know in the reality if a pre thus film coming out if a real teen babysitter thing sex with older guys/being organized by a female teen would have hit the news/net.

    we’d be talking about it and wondering who would play the roles in the movie adaption.and let’s not pretend ‘we’/society wouldn’t..

    if it happened that way. i guess the movie would be ok in the eyes of the ‘moralist’. lame….of them. it’s the usual….

    sure this movie getting bad reviews is ok.(does deserve better that it’s getting) more than ever i’m not expecting to really sync with critics. (hmm lars/real girl has 70% at metacritic…’no country’ has 91%)

    but i’m also not in sync with stuff in movie blog land or the mainstream blockbuster type movies are the only thing that exist or should exist type.

    and please don’t get me started on juno…. 🙂

    *ha ha* 🙂

    it’s just me/geek in movies solo/ no glory/no glitter/no glamour

    just glimmer

  16. glimmer Says:

    and yeah there’s some stuff i skipped over..or should clarify further..

    but maybe i’ll do that when this film gets seen more. but maybe the onslaught of bad reviews really will kill it. and all will be safe in the movie world and the next pixar film $80 million plus the first week and all will be safe the movie world…

    all rights reserved/all wrongs reserved…..

  17. Miranda Wilding Says:

    Have faith, glim. The universe will unfold as it should.

    Trust me on this….

  18. Miranda, I know I’ve been a shockingly bad blog friend lately and I apologize for that. For some reason, your new posts aren’t coming up right away on my feed reader and I’ve gotten in the habit of relying on the thing.

    Anyway, part of getting better is having it get easier. I don’t know to what degree my writing has visibly improved over the last year, but I do know I can get to a certain level easier and faster and ever before and that’s really important.

    I know what you’re saying about wanting each review to be unique. Mine have all been kind of samey lately, though I’m trying hard to just let each movie tell me what kind of review it needs. I definitely fall into a pattern, though I have fun trying to do the summaries without telling too much. Less is usually more in those cases as far as I’m concerned. It’s tricky though getting enough to interest someone in seeing the movie and having the review make sense, but not so much that you’re just telling them everything that happens.

    Anyway, enough blabbing from me. Keep up the good work.

  19. Miranda Wilding Says:

    That’s all right, Craig. These things happen.

    I think I understand the points you’re making. Encouragement is, of course, always very much appreciated.

    Thanks for that.

  20. glimmer Says:

    and as the babysitters naysayers could expect real life is a lot more messed up…

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24586997/

  21. Yeah, when I read stuff like that I understand why there are so many people that are completely messed up.

    Sickening, glim. What a world we live in…

  22. That kid’s an idiot. He wants to be a politician when he grows up? He’s well on his way.

    Thanks, glim…

  23. glimmer Says:

    going by the weekend thing at bop. the visitor made the top 10 this weekend.(despite slight drop money wise) #10.

    and it’s listed as having made $ 3.4 million so far. guess that makes it an art house monster ???

    surprising numbers ????

  24. glimmer Says:

    m. that hookers/videogame kid. if there’s training camp for future politicans get him there *now*.talk about being a natural and having raw talent. ha ha…

  25. Regarding that kid, that is truly a definite, glim. Oh yes…

    I’ll have to check out BOM. I go through periods where I’m intensely curious about numbers, especially where my favourites are involved. This is all that matters to the bean counters anyway. Marketing all revolves around money. It doesn’t matter if the movie’s great art. But it has to make sufficient green.

    *sigh* It’s been that way since the 80s and it seems to be getting worse. Not better.

    I’m glad you told me about this, glim. I’ll be honest. I’m NOT really surprised.

    I’ve always believed that THE VISITOR could be a modest hit if it was marketed properly and it got hot word of mouth. It’s an excellent film that could have a potentially large audience.

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