Today I want to talk The Visit, directed by M. Night Shyamalan. SPOILERS AHEAD so go see this movie please before you watch this.
First off, this is a great movie, and part of why I LOVE this movie is because it is actually a GOOD M. Night movie. I love Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs. Parts of The Village and Lady in the Water are good, but ever since The Happening his movies have be UTTER TRASH. JUST STRAIGHT UP GARBAGE. So to actually see a good M. Night movie now is so refreshing and gets me really excited for the future. (I’m looking at you Split. Please be a great M. Night movie. PLEASE!) And I will be doing a “Thoughts on..” The Happening at some point, but today we are talking about The Visit!
I don’t want to review the movie and give it a grade, but instead I want to talk about why I freaking LOVE this movie.
No, the creepy sequences are not why I love this movie, even though they are great. AND STRAIGHT UP CREEPY! I can’t look at old people the same way again… that hide-and-seek game under the house made my heart stop.
So why do I LOVE this movie? Why do I get so emotional at the end of this film and do my best not to cry?
The reason why is because the story about these two kids overcoming their struggles with their father, who left them and their mother, and learning how to move on is told so well. To me, this is the most important part of the story and the weird thing is those crazy old people that are in the entire movie are just a small part of it. Their role is just to be a physical hurdle that the kids overcome to help them through the process of moving on.
To fully understand what I’m saying, let’s look at each kid’s story arc.
First up, Tyler the rapper. During his interview scene, we can tell that from the surface Tyler seems okay with his dad leaving. He was really young when it happened so it appears that he may not be too emotionally invested in the matter.
But then we learn that Tyler actually does blame himself. He froze during a crucial football game, and Tyler thinks he’s dad was upset at him for losing the game and THAT is why his dad left him. From our point of view (AND Becca’s) this seems like a ridiculous conclusion to come to, but that’s the point. Tyler is still too young to truly understand. So this mistake he made during a pointless game is the guilt that Tyler carries throughout the movie. He FEELS responsible.
Next up, Becca the filmmaker. This is where things get really emotional. During her interview scene, we learn that Becca doesn’t really like herself. From Tyler’s questioning, we find out that Becca doesn’t look at herself in the mirror. She brushes her hair with her back turned, and brushes her teeth while looking down. She even put her sweater on inside-out and it’s that realization that really sinks in. Becca thinks that she is worthless. And when did this habit start? According to Tyler, it started when their dad left.
In the next scene, while Becca is crying, she tells the camera that before he left, her dad gave her a card. A card. That’s it. Becca is only good enough to get a card after her own FATHER leaves her forever. And it’s this pointless card that starts Becca on the path of hating herself.
So it’s pretty obvious that at this point Becca hates her dad, and she admits that she refuses to include the home-videos in the documentary that have him in it. This statement becomes very important later.
Now it’s the end of the movie. Becca and Tyler find out these two wacko’s are NOT their grandparents and they are stuck with them until help arrives. Tensions are high during the most awkward game of Yahtzee I have ever seen. The two kids get separated and it’s time for them to finally face their demons.
Becca is locked up in the bedroom with Nana, who is doing everything she can to creep us all out. Becca is trying to leave but the door is locked. She gets on the bed to avoid Nana and then she comes face to face with a mirror over the bed. (By the way, thanks to my dad for pointing this out) Her eyes are closed, and Nana is behind her. So what does Becca do?
She opens her eyes. She looks at herself in the mirror for the first time in a looooooong time. And when the mirror is shattered, Becca uses a piece of the mirror to kill Nana. She uses the one thing that has caused so much grief in her life to help her survive.
And then, using the camera, Becca breaks the lock and is finally free.
So during all this, what’s going on with Tyler?
Well… Tyler gets a disgusting adult-diaper shoved in his face. Papa is saying a bunch of nonsense and we want Tyler to run, to get out of the house. But he can’t. He’s FROZEN. Again, just like during the football game.
Tyler doesn’t snap out of it until Becca starts to fight Papa, but as soon as he does snap…he explodes.
He tackles Papa and slams him into the fridge. And then Tyler tackles him AGAIN. This time, Tyler makes the play.
And as every football player does, Tyler gets a little carried away with the celebration. Although, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a football player slam a Quarterback’s head in with a fridge door.
But who cares?! The kids are safe!!
And this is where I start to choke up…
The police show up, the mom is there, the kids have overcome the one thing that’s been holding them back, and everyone is safe.
And as we are still dealing with the resolution of the two creepy old peeps, we finally get the interview with the mom that we have been wanting since the beginning of the movie. This is when the mom finally reveals to us, and to the kids of what really happened between the mom and her parents.
In this incredibly well-acted scene, we get to learn what the REAL grandparents were like. The mom is finally opening up on the events that have been causing her so much grief. The day she left with her boyfriend, her mother tried to stop her. She hit her mom, and her father hit her.
This was the last time she saw her parents…
The grandparents tried to reach out to her, tried to make up, tried anything to rebuild that relationship with their daughter.
But of course, she refused.
Becca’s realization that the anger she feels for her father is the same anger that her mom felt for her parents is so impactful. Becca sees what life can be like if she continues to let her father’s absence bring her down and cause her anger and grief.
And then Becca’s mom says:
“Please. Don’t hold on to anger Becca.”
It’s this line that is the final push for Becca, and even for Tyler, that causes them to move on. They don’t have to forgive their father, but they don’t have to be angry at him either. It’s this anger that is causing them so much grief and if they just let it go and move on, they can live happy lives.
Then, the movie ends with the one thing Becca insisted would never be a part of the documentary…footage of her father. Not just footage of him, but footage of him WITH Becca and Tyler. It’s a statement made by Becca that she has moved on and is no longer angry at her father.
Becca and Tyler have moved on with their lives, and it’s such a sweet ending to a surprisingly emotional movie…
…THAT in my opinion is somewhat ruined by a ridiculously silly credits sequence were Tyler raps about the events of the movie. I get it, it’s supposed to be quirky, but I would have preferred the movie to conclude with the footage of their father and let us reflect on the movie, instead of switching the tone around at the end with a goofy kid. But it’s not that big of a deal, so whatever. If M. Night can continue to make movies of this quality, I won’t complain.
So that is my Thoughts on… The Visit. What do you think of The Visit?
Thanks for reading!
**My next post will be sticking with the M. Night theme…TOP 5 M. Night Movies**