An Eastern European visitor becomes a resident of a New York airport terminal when a war breaks out and erases his country from the map, voiding his passport. He makes friends with the airport staff and falls in love with a flight attendant.
Like an airport running at peak efficiency, The Terminal
glides on the consummate skills of its director and star. Having refined their collaborative chemistry on Saving Private Ryan
and Catch Me if You Can
, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks mesh like the precision gears of a Rolex, turning a delicate, not-very-plausible scenario into a lovely modern-age fable (partly based on fact) that's both technically impressive and subtly moving. It's Spielberg in Capra mode, spinning the featherweight tale of Victor Navorski (Hanks, giving a finely tuned performance), an Eastern European who arrives at New York's Kennedy Airport just as his (fictional) homeland has fallen to a coup, forcing him, with no valid citizenship, to take indefinite residence in the airport's expansive International Arrivals Terminal (an astonishing full-scale set that inspires Spielberg's most elegant visual strategies). Spielberg said he made this film in part to alleviate the anguish of wartime America, and his master's touch works wonders on the occasionally mushy material; even Stanley Tucci's officious terminal director and Catherine Zeta-Jones's mixed-up flight attendant come off (respectively) as forgivable and effortlessly charming. With this much talent involved, The Terminal
transcends its minor shortcomings to achieve a rare degree of cinematic grace. --Jeff Shannon
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.