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The Terminal
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Terminal More at IMDbPro »

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218 out of 292 people found the following review useful:

Feel-good

10/10
Author: Derek237 from Canada
8 July 2004

It's funny how Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, two of Hollywood's most powerful men, who could literally do any movie they want, end up making something like The Terminal. Instead of reaching for new heights of film-making like including the latest in special effects, or new original ways of storytelling and editing, Spielberg goes back to a simpler form. That in itself is surprisingly refreshing. Filmmakers try so hard to be inventive and change the typical form of the classics, that when someone finally does go back to that Capra or Wilder fashion, it ends up seeming original. That's what The Terminal goes for. A movie about characters, not plot. About emotion, not CGI. It's a true heart-felt piece of work. It's funny, it's cute, and it always keeps you interested.

Tom Hanks leads an exceptional cast as Viktor Navorski, a man stranded in JFK airport, not welcome in the U.S. and having no country to come home to. Throughout the experience he makes friends, a love interest, and a rival. He changes all of their lives, of course. That's to be expected from a movie like this. Tom Hanks is totally believable, accent and all. It's a performance well worthy of an Oscar nod.

I loved The Terminal for many reasons, but one big reason is it's simplicity. And more importantly, because it is good at being simple. It doesn't contribute anything new to movies, it doesn't try to. It is what it is. A great, feel-good film. Something that is getting rarer and rarer these days. Sometimes you'll want to see a gritty, wrenching melodrama, but other times you'll want to see The Terminal.

My rating: 10/10

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163 out of 232 people found the following review useful:

Hanks and Spielberg do it again-another winner!

10/10
Author: triple8 from Conn
5 July 2004

I've seen some really good movies in 2004 but so far, this maybe the best. The Terminal is an incredible fairy tale of a movie-it's quietly captivating, rich in interesting colorful characters and superbly acted and directed.

Tom Hanks as Victor Navorsky is quite simply entrancing to watch. He is an amazing character actor and in The Terminal he again creates a character who is instantly embraceable. You care about Victor and want things to turn out OK for him as much as his friends in the Terminal do.

This is a movie that actually got some bad reviews and I'm baffled by why. Although, I usually can see flaws in even the movies I think are 8's and 9's there isn't much to be critical of here. Some people have said it's to "feel good". That it's lacking in reality. I don't necessarily see those as negatives, there are many good movies that are feel good or unrealistic, just as there are some bad ones. The Terminal has a lot that's likable about it.

Firstly, there's Hanks himself and I will admit if any other actor had played Victor it might not be the movie it is, Hanks is simply amazing, you forget who he is within the first five minutes. I won't mention everyone by name, but the rich array of supporting actors/actresses were all good as well. It is an unusual movie that really isn't either a straight comedy OR a straight drama-it perhaps falls through the cracks of genres but I'd call this mostly a heartwarming and completely absorbing character study of one man's attempt to make a life for himself in an airport terminal. It's a very different type of movie-for all the strategically placed product adds, there's something quietly uncommercial about Terminal and watching it is an interesting experience.

The movie is about 2 hours and you get a lot in those two hours. For me what was striking was how genuinely interesting this movie turned out to be. I'm one who finds airport terminals fascinating anyway-all the hundreds of and thousands of people rushing about to hop on a plane and start some new adventure....but to actually live in a terminal-an interesting (and rather strange) concept-Hanks acting here is quiet and understated and at a level surpassing merely "talented". He manages to make nibbling a cracker fascinating. I would give this a 10 of 10 and know there are many who may think it's not for them but I found this movie to be a beautiful fairytale of a picture and hope at least Hanks gets an Oscar nod. I also hope that skeptics give this movie a chance-as good a movie as any Hanks film I've ever seen. 10 of 10.

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159 out of 226 people found the following review useful:

Egoless waiting

9/10
Author: jjll from United States
25 December 2004

I have to say it is a great one that first shows the meaning and beauty in our life about waiting and promise. Amelia is waiting for her dream to come true for eighteen years, for herself; Navorski's dad was waiting for something he honored so much for his life; and here comes Navorski, who waits for making his father's left dream come true, for fulfilling his promise, for the woman he fell in love, in a "crack" between the US and his own country.

He has done everything for others around him. If there is a great example of "egoless", he is one. Letting go ego, is the greatness that even Amelia found out when she gives up and scarifies something most important in her life to help Navorski.

This simple story conveys some wonderful philosophy for people living in this country busy around everyday for business, families, and so on, to slow down and reflect on something. As the retired officer said to officer Dixon, there is something we can learn from Navorski.

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129 out of 181 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes You Find Good Things in the Most Unlikely Places.

Author: tfrizzell from United States
23 July 2004

An Eastern European (Tom Hanks) from a fictional country literally gets stuck at JFK Airport in New York after his landing coincides with the point at which a war causes his nation to no longer exist. Thus his paperwork and passport are no good. Hanks is in the U.S. for a mysterious reason and that reason becomes the hook in this wonderful picture. While stuck, Hanks sees more of America than he could have ever imagined. However he constantly has trouble with airport supervisor Stanley Tucci (in a perfect role). Runway worker Diego Luna makes a deal with Hanks so he can learn about passport officer Zoe Saldana (a woman who Luna has loved from afar) via Hanks' attempts to have his passport accepted. Also Hanks meets an elderly Indian janitor (Kumar Pallana) who has been in the states for decades, but the reason he is there also becomes a key point. While all this goes on, Hanks falls in love with 30-something flight attendant Catherine Zeta-Jones (perfectly illuminating and beautiful as usual). Zeta-Jones is sad and disillusioned with men (Michael Nouri of "Flashdance" in particular) and past relationships that have failed for one reason or another. Director Steven Spielberg has never really been known for romantic pictures ("Always" in 1989 is an exception), but he proves that he can definitely handle a production like this. The cast is excellent with Hanks making all those around him better. This story was co-written by Andrew Niccol (even though he strangely did not pen the final script), an under-rated screenwriter who struck gold in 1998 with "The Truman Show". Many of the good things from that script are also presented here in diverse and creative ways. By the way, the art direction/set decoration is amazing as everything within the titled location was built from scratch in a studio. Spielberg was not allowed to film any airports due to obvious security reasons. From top to bottom, "The Terminal" flies high. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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43 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Waiting can be exciting… It can be also entertaining…

8/10
Author: Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico
12 October 2008

The film begins with a cool look (green and blue), because Spielberg doesn't think of Immigration as a warm place to be for the few minutes it takes to clear a passenger and get him on his way… So all the cool tones are evident until Viktor starts to settle into his new home… He is going to be stuck in New York's JFK airport for an unspecified amount of time… From this moment we see Viktor stuck, trapped, unable to enter United States and that's the fun of this film…

Tom Hanks is really so calm, so likable, so emotional, so funny and so real in what he does… Here, he's a very dignified person who is extremely trusting and always full of positive hope… You couldn't insult him if you try… It's very hard to hurt his feelings… He finds the bright side of every angle problem he faces and finds a way for him to live with the situation… He has the virtue of patience, and the testament to hard work, perseverance, and humility… He loves people, and he experiences the culture in an odd way…

Hanks plays a Krakozhian capable gentleman whose name is Viktor Navorski who finds himself without a passport and a visa once both are taken from him by the powers-that-be at the terminal, because his visa no longer counts, since his country is no longer in existence, and his passport is no longer valid…

Catherine Zeta-Jones brings vulnerability and insecurity to her unhappy character… She plays the gorgeous flight attendant Amalia Warren, a very sensible woman who's always looking for love, trying to find the person that will be her prince… She really wears her emotions on her sleeve and is lonely… She wants some strong relationship in her life… Viktor and Amelia have oceans of things in common and it ends up playing itself out and that's a nice thing to play…

The story leaves a lot for reflection, and in some ways, Viktor's stillness allows him to be a mirror for the people working in the airport to meditate on their own lives…

"The Terminal" is a charming film… It looks beautifully and elegantly, but realistically…

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56 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

A happy movie, lots of fun...

Author: Andrew DiMonte (NoArrow) from My House, Canada
9 July 2004

…'The Terminal' is the latest Hanks/Spielberg collaboration, and though it's not quite as good as 'Catch Me if You Can' or 'Saving Private Ryan' it still makes for a fun watch. The plot, as everyone already knows, is about Krakozhian (sp?) immigrant Victor Narvorski (Tom Hanks) whose home country – the fictional land of Krakozhia (think Russia or Czechoslovakia) – is torn apart in war while he is in a plane headed for New York. When he lands JFK airport head Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci) tells him that since he literally doesn't have a country he must stay in the airport terminal until all the hoopla settles. Dixon thinks that Narvorski will ignore him, escape into New York and 'become someone else's problem'. What Dixon doesn't know is that Victor is an honest man, and he will obey the rules and stay in the terminal until he's allowed to leave.

The character of Victor Narvorski is one of those classic movie characters who has no conceivable flaw (other than a minimal understanding of the world around him – and an accent) and dose everything he can to help everyone else. Similar characters that spring to mind are Peter Sellers' Chauncey Gardner from the 1979 satire 'Being There' and John Goodman's Charlie Meadows from the Coen movie 'Barton Fink'. All of these characters are dim-witted, but great people who put their own lives on hold to help their friends.

Some of these friends include Airport worker Enrique Cruz (Diego Luna), who Victor helps get hitched with a beautiful security guard (Zoë Saldana) and Amelia Warren (Catherine Zeta-Jones) a nice, flighty flight attendant who Narvorski inspires to get out of a troubled relationship with a married man.

The Hanks and Zeta-Jones characters strike up a little romance, but luckily its not too overblown, it's more of a subplot than anything.

It takes sometime but soon Narvorski is accepted into a small group of Airport workers including Cruz, kindly Joe Mulroy (Chi McBride) and janitor Gupta Raja (Kumar Pallana), who at first thinks that Narvorski is a federal agent out to get him. These characters are all well written and even better acted, but I thought they could've been awarded with a little more screen time. After all, the three are very good actors. But I guess Luna is still riding off the success of 'Y U Mama Tambien' and McBride, despite the fact that he's been working for many years, is still trying to find a big role that's right for him (which I doubt he'll get from 'I, Robot').

It's Pallana who has the biggest role here, and man, does he deserve it. Very old, and very foreign, he was brought to surprising cult fame when Wes Anderson gave him the role of 'Pagoda' in the 2001 hit 'The Royal Tenenbaums'. Who doesn't remember the short, quiet, hilarious butler of the Tenenbaum family? His role in this is a great follow-up; he is funny, and surprisingly touching and dramatic in a very tense scene near the end that I wont spoil. In any other movie the role of the Indian janitor would be an easy target, but this character isn't funny because he's Indian, but instead funny because he's clever, a little cynical and wily. He stole every scene he's in from under Tom Hanks, or Zeta-Jones, or whoever. This is a long shot, but I think the man deserves an Oscar nomination.

The acting in this movie is the greatest factor – well, that and the huge Terminal set built only for the movie. Some critics are complaining about an underwritten and underused Catherine Zeta-Jones. Whatever. I call her under-necessary (Note: not UNnecessary, UNDER-necessary). I'm glad that her less-than-interesting character wasn't overused, I'm glad the movie wasn't turned into a straight-out romance.

The films deepest and most interesting character is Tucci's Dixon. On the surface he looks like your usual villain, but that's only to simpleton viewers who don't make any attempt to understand their movie characters. Dixon is not a villain. As it's established in the beginning, Dixon has been working the same job at the airport for seventeen years and wants desperately to climb up the latter. Because of this, he makes sure that he follows every single rule; he's the epitome of every by-the-book bureaucrat that we all love to hate. His motto is that in his work there're three important things, 'The person, the document and the story'. In the best scene of the movie Dixon refuses a Russian man to bring medicine to his dying father in Canada because he doesn't have the right form. This scene represents everything about the character of Dixon.

I was also interested in the relationship between Dixon and Narvorski. Dixon is at first refusing Narvorski because it's the rules, but as the film goes on and Dixon is further perplexed by Narvorski it stops being about rules and starts being about hatred and jealousy for Narvorski's joyful existence. He refuses to let Narvorski go to New York when he should be allowed to. In the film's most fulfilling scene Narvorski escapes and Dixon decides to give up chasing him, and you can see in his eyes that he's realized how ridiculous and stubborn he's been acting. This is Tucci's best performance. An Oscar for him, I say!

It is flawed, of course, in a few things. Narvorski's character is never developed, he stays the same person throughout the entire film, but that's fine, because Hanks keeps your interest and is at his most lovable. Also, the ending stretched on just a little bit…if I had my way it would've ended with Dixon happily watching Narvorski escape in his cab, the rest could've just as easily been implied. I think the ending is a very important part of any film, and this one was – in a way – ruined.

But, no movie is perfect, and I have no problem accepting this as a lighthearted picture with a few interesting characters. Have fun. 7.5/10.

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62 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

fun film

8/10
Author: gottogorunning from United States
9 August 2005

Although I should not have been surprised, Spielberg and Hanks, had greatness written all over it. But I got suckered into a lot of the bad press around the film and suppose I judged it before I had watched it. Anyway, I have now watched it and I liked it.

I thought the first half of the film was absolutely fantastic, the humor, the acting, the character development - they were all good. I thought the second half of the film suffered a little from becoming a bit over emotional, the love story seemed out of sorts and the way the entire airport staff seemed to know every thing about everyone else was a bit far fetched, I worked in an airport for many years and knew virtually no-one from outside the people I worked with on a daily basis, but maybe that's just me! But I forgave the film these slight nuances and allowed myself to enjoy it. I don't think Hanks or Spielberg will win any more Oscars, but it was a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday night!!

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75 out of 126 people found the following review useful:

Very good film

Author: jeromec-2 from Canada
24 September 2004

I liked The Terminal. I liked all of the people and all of the situations.

Most people who saw this liked the minor characters especially Gupta who took particular delight in watching people slide on his wet floor.

That was fine, but not to be difficult I liked the courtship between the very shy but proper food delivery person and the immigration official better. Navorski was kind gentle and wise as acting as their Cyrano. He neither fell in love with nor did he take advantage of her.

The Terminal is a romance in the tradition of (say) Picnic. As a teenage, I watched with envy as William Holden easily courted a beautiful, vulnerable younger Kim Novac. What did it matter that he was old enough to be her father? The girls in movie houses still drooled over him and wished they were her.

So with this. Most male reviewers take exception to Zeta Jones in The Terminal. Much more sophisticated these days. Pity. She was actually quite good. She was like the little Mermaid: much of what she conveyed could not be done with her voice. The same thing with the Zeta Jones character: everything she said had to be done with her eyes and tears. She knows Navorski's value. She knows his character and how good he is. She wants him and is certain he wants and deserves her, but she knows that sooner or later she will betray him and that would devastate him. She knows herself so well that she feels unworthy of him. She cannot betray such a good and honorable man. What then does that make her? Is she any less honorable and worthy? Should she be any less desirable for the boys than William Holden for the girls?

This film is not Schindler's List. But it's not Beach Blanket Bingo either. It is a wonderful character study well worth seeing.

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44 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Delightful Fable About a Patient Man Who Is Trapped by the Bureaucracy in the International Lounge of JFK

8/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
25 April 2005

Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) has just arrived from Krakozhia in JFK Airport, when there is a coup in his small eastern country, with the revolutionary forces taking the government by force. The USA does not recognize the new government and the validity of his VISA and passport are canceled. Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci), the bureaucratic administrator of the airport, who rules by the book and does not show any compassion for people, leaves Viktor, who does not speak English, in the international lounge of the airport with a problem without solution. While patiently living in Gate 67 for a long period, Viktor survives, learns English by himself, makes new friends among the employees of the airport and falls in love for Amelia Warren (Catherine Zeta-Jones). "The Terminal" is a delightful and uncommon fable about a patient man who is trapped by the bureaucracy in the international lounge of JFK. I heard that an equivalent event would have happened indeed in Paris, but there is no reference on the DVD, and the writer takes the credits for the idea of this theme. Anyway, Steven Spielberg is really magic, and was able to make a delightful movie with such a weird storyline. Tom Hanks is excellent as usual and the beauty of Catherine Zeta-Jones is still very impressive. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Terminal" ("The Terminal")

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58 out of 98 people found the following review useful:

A triumphant Hanks and Spielberg movie, they do it again!

8/10
Author: Eazy91 from Pennsylvania
18 July 2005

*** Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Chi McBride, Diego Luna, Kumar Pallana. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Of course when the movie came out I seemed spectacle that a movie that takes place in an airport could even begin to be mildly entertaining. Yet in the hands of Steven Spielberg he makes it great, and contains that artistic appeal. Based on the true story of Viktor Navorski (Hanks;in his impressive role as an illegal alien) who gets stuck in an airport in New York and can't risk to step a foot out in N.Y without being arrested. While there he be-friends a flight attendant Amelie Warren (the beautiful Zeta-Jones) who he happens to have his eye on. Spielberg makes even the worst sounding movie one of the best of the year. Bravo on Hanks and Spielberg's part.

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