Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. The Visitor, is, if anything, more imaginative and touching than his first.
  2. 100
    As a writer-director, McCarthy, like the characters and the places that he suffuses with emotion, has poetry in him - and he knows how to let it out. He has a talent for demarcating those spaces in which characters can become whoever they want to be.
  3. It works on several levels, and stands out as a wistful meditation on the psychological cost of 9/11.
  4. 90
    Eloquent and unassuming, it's a picture that hits home precisely because it doesn't overreach its grasp.
  5. 90
    The curious thing about The Visitor is that even as it goes more or less where you think it will, it still manages to surprise you along the way.
  6. 88
    A heartfelt human drama that sneaks up and floors you.
  7. 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.
  8. 88
    Best movie I've seen so far this year? Hands down, it's Tom McCarthy's superb The Visitor, which turns Richard Jenkins, one of the best character actors in the business, into a full-fledged star.
  9. 88
    McCarthy's flawless casting may be the film's greatest strength: Veteran character actor Jenkins and his costars vanish into their characters -- their performances are so subtle and unforced that they don't feel like performances at all.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    It is one of the year's most intriguing dramas, with a quartet of powerful performances.
  11. 88
    This is a film of our times - paranoid, heartbroken, disillusioned - and the rare recent American movie whose characters react the way actual people might.
  12. 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.
  13. 83
    Like few of his filmmaking peers, McCarthy understands and respects the power of quiet, and how a whisper can be as explosive as a shout.
  14. A compelling and illuminating story of four people who form an unlikely and momentary friendship of considerable depth.
  15. Reviewed by: Anna Smith
    The tension dips occasionally but stick with it and you'l be richly rewarded.
  16. An unassuming but quietly heartbreaking drama.
  17. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    A combination immigrant/resurrection tale, Visitor tilts toward the soulful rather than the political, and could be this year's humanistic indie hit.
  18. 80
    Gives viewers a perceptive, deeply personal take on the timeless immigrant narrative, in which the most epic journey is finally one of self-discovery.
  19. 80
    Powerful second film by writer-director Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent).
  20. 75
    The Visitor is a small movie, but its emotions could not be writ any larger.
  21. At first glance Walter isn't a guy you want to spend two hours with. But by the end of the film, you don't want to see him go. Jenkins is like that: He sneaks up on you and steals your heart with light-fingered skill.
  22. 75
    This is a simple story of human drama that provides an incentive to spend a couple of hours in a movie theater during a spring that has not provided many such reasons.
  23. 75
    The combined effect is, as I say, small but sincere. McCarthy may prove to have something bigger in him, or he may be a miniaturist content to build little stories and fill them with all the humanity they can bear. If that's the case, there are far less worthy ways to spend a career.
  24. The Visitor tells of renewal through love. Its song is tinged with sadness, but stirring all the same.
  25. Definitely a film that marches to its own drumbeat.
  26. Reviewed by: Jason McBride
    The actor - like everyone else in this tedious yet affecting film - rises well above his soft-headed, solipsistic material, turning in a performance of nuanced delicacy.
  27. Both director and cast exhibit the dedication of those who truly believe in the message at hand. But with so much earnestness onscreen, the message occasionally gets in the way of the movie itself.
  28. McCarthy is so careful not to take a political stand that his film seems neutered by good intentions. In the spirit of squishy humanism, he soft-pedals a hard-hitting topic.
  29. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    McCarthy unquestionably means well, but he's made one of those incredibly naïve movies that gives liberals a bad name, and which does more to regress the sociopolitical discourse than advance it.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 73 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 37
  2. Negative: 4 out of 37
  1. Nov 28, 2012
    An excellently structured, skillfully acted drama that effectively weaves sincere, relevant, and affecting thematic elements throughout its very unique story. Full Review »
  2. Aug 8, 2011
    Richard Jenkins gives the performance of a lifetime in this touching,subtle film.Tom McCarthy's vision is unflinchingly humanistic as well as politically and culturally relevant.It's at times funny,always moving and incredibly absorbing.Highly recommended! Full Review »
  3. Aug 23, 2010
    Ageing widowed professor, goes to New York conference, immigrants living in his flat, makes friends, learns how to drum, male immigrant gets caught, mother turns up.
    Slow-paced but enjoyable film which I did think in parts was like Lost in Translation where not much happens but the characters build up.
    Well acted, nice music & a film with it's heart is in the right place.
    Full Review »