Friday, September 25, 2009

First Movie Review - The Visitor

Since our dear friends enjoy meeting once or twice a month to enjoy "moooovies" in a 'book-club-esque' setting, we thought we'd review those movies here as we have the opportunity. Since we watched a film in class together, we thought we'd review that as well! It's spoiler-free!

Joe's Take

As some of you know, Sheila and I are taking Immigration Law together at Case Law. I enjoy doing this because I haven’t taken a class with a close friend for a long time.

Our professor wasn’t able to make it to class this evening, so he decided to have a showing of The Visitor, which was released last year. Our professor said that this movie’s depiction of the immigration process was very realistic, and I was hopeful that it would help us make sense of the rather confusing processes detailed in the statutes. I had never heard of this film, a fact about which I was somewhat ashamed when I learned that the lead actor earned a Best Actor nomination (along with the dynamite male lead performances in Benjamin Button, Milk, and Frost\Nixon…and I’ve yet to see The Wrestler!).

I hadn’t watched a movie in a classroom for a long, long time; it made me miss the good ole undergrad days when I watched films like Metropolis, Black Robe, and many others in my classes. In fact, I even took Apologetics in high school because the teacher told us that we would be watching Contact! When I taught, I was always big on movies as a teaching tool; I believe that watching the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan can give people an idea of how D-Day really was moreso than reading about it in a book. Anyhow, it was definitely an interesting experience—people were on computers, eating, walking in and out, sleeping, etc…

…fortunately it did not detract from the viewing experience too much. I’m grateful for that, because this was a fantastic movie. The male lead was fantastic; I have not seen such exceptionally nuanced acting in quite some time. Although there were a few points at which I felt the movie slightly dragged, I kept my interest the entire time. The ending was also quite different than what I had expected, but in a good way—it definitely didn’t ruin the whole movie like it did for me in Mamma Mia. What I liked most, though, was that the movie had several different plots intertwined amidst the various characters. It takes a talented writer to pull that off!

I would definitely watch this one again, and I hope that we are able to discuss it in class next week!

Sheila's Take

I also really enjoyed The Visitor. Taking Immigration Law has really opened my eyes to the difficulties of the immigration process and has helped me to grow in understanding and empathy for those who have spent so much time, money, and emotion on this long and challenging process. While the class has certainly helped me in the technical areas, this film helped to show a human side. Not every bit of turmoil is simply due to delays and expenses. The costs of immigration can be much higher - the splitting of families, the marginalization of culture, the loss of belonging to something you once believed in. I would recommend this movie to anyone who has had a family member immigrate to the US or to anyone who knows very little about this issue - it's clearly an issue that becomes more and more relevant each day, and the more we know, the more we can understand and advocate proper immigration reform!

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