Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Visit, The (1959)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Alice lies in bed waiting for her alarm clock to ring. She gets up, dresses, teases her hair into shape and goes to the kitchen to bring the kettle to the boil and prepare breakfast. The kettle's whistle wakes her parents, who sit up in bed expectantly. Alice serves them breakfast and gives her mother her pills. Before leaving, she asks her father to make sure that she takes it easy. Alice clocks in at the biscuit factory where she works as a quality controller. She occasionally gossips with colleagues, but her attitude is largely one of quiet concentration.

At home, Alice's mother is chatting with her neighbour, who says "it's a shame about Alice". Her mother retorts that she likes living with her parents. The neighbour offers to go to the shops for her, but is told that that's Alice's job. Mother goes back inside for lunch with her husband, an almost silent affair, after which they sit by the fire, reading the paper and listening to the radio. Back at the factory, Alice seems momentarily overwhelmed by the biscuits on her conveyor belt.

Alice returns home with the shopping, including flowers for her mother and cigarettes for her father. She prepares their evening meal - boiled eggs - which is eaten in silence. Afterwards, all three sit by the fire: Alice knitting. Their reverie is broken by a phone call from their grandson/nephew Kenny, who wants to come round to introduce his fiancée, Anne. Alice prepares the other room for the visit, and then goes to her bedroom. She brushes her hair with rather more attention to detail, looking at photos of her, much younger, in the arms of a lover in uniform. She goes to bed, but her eyes remain open.

The next day, Kenny and Anne visit: they are young, jaunty, in love with each other and life in general. Alice gathers their coats, fills a vase for Anne's flowers and makes the tea. Anne accompanies her, but the kitchen is too small for her to do anything useful. They discuss the marriage and Kenny's income prospects, and Anne shows off her engagement ring. Kenny and Anne are going to the cinema: Anne goes two or three times a week, as it breaks the monotony of typing all day. Alice tells Kenny that he must think of Anne's feelings now.

At six o'clock, Alice's father goes to the living room to listen to the football results. His wife is asleep, but is woken up by the radio. She asks for her pills, which Kenny volunteers to fetch - but on returning, he trips over Alice's foot and spills them on the floor. Mother blames Alice, who goes to the kitchen, pausing ruefully by the sink as she moistens a cloth. After the pills are retrieved, Kenny and Anne leave.

Alice stands in the doorway watching her parents as they sit by the fire. She seems about to speak, but thinks better of it and goes back to the kitchen.