- Directors: Thomas McCarthy
- Producers: Michael London, Mary Jane Skalski
- Writers: Thomas McCarthy
- Genres: Crime, Drama, Romance
- Actors: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Jekesai Gurira, Hiam Abbass
Walter Vale is a widowed Connecticut College economics professor who lives a fairly solitary existence. He fills his hours by taking piano lessons with Karen in an effort to emulate his late wife, a classical concert pianist, and works on a new book, although his efforts at both are not producing encouraging results. When he is asked to present a paper at an academic conference at New York University, he hesitates to comply, given he is only the nominal co-author and never even read it. Charles, his department head, persists, and Walter is forced to attend.
When he arrives at the apartment he maintains in Manhattan, he is startled to discover a young unmarried couple living there, having rented it from a swindler who claimed it was his. They are Tarek, a Syrian djembe player, and Zainab, a Senegalese designer of ethnic jewelry, and both are illegal immigrants. Although they have no place to go, they hastily pack and leave, but Walter follows them and persuades them to return. Over the next few days, a friendship slowly develops. Tarek teaches Walter to play the drum, and the two men join a group of others at an impromptu drum circle in Central Park.
Without warning, Tarek is summarily deported to Syria, and Mouna decides to follow him. Alone once again, Walter plays his drum on a subway platform, as Tarek once told him he himself would like to do some time.