The Terminal

From the trailers, I knew The Terminal was a movie I wanted to see. A traveler asks the stranded traveler Viktor Navorsky (Tom Hanks), “Do you ever feel like you live at the airport?” Viktor’s been there about six months, sleeping at Gate 67 when this happens. I travel a lot, so this little exchange made me laugh.

Viktor is from a small Eastern European country near Russia. While he is on his way to New York’s JFK airport, his country has a revolution, he gets no visa and his passport is confiscated by the head of federal airport security, Frank Dixon (Stanly Tucci). Dixon thinks it will only be a day or so before Navorsky can get things straightened out; it takes nine months. So Viktor camps out at a gate that is being remodeled; gets airplane food by making friends with an airport worker, and works for more money than Dixon makes by doing construction and getting paid under the table. Navorsky also has a can of Planter’s Peanuts that everyone wants to know the contents of.

One day a beautiful flight attendant, Ameilia, slips and falls on the wet floor. They become friends (Catherine Zeta-Jones). She is involved with a married man; her whole life has been a chain of relationships with married men. Navorsky falls for her and no matter what she tells him, maintains deep resepct for her.

The Terminal is about people who are stuck: stuck in an airport, stuck in a job, stuck in relationships – all searching for freedom. Navorsky makes several friends, and he is willing to forego getting out of the terminal and into Manhattan to keep his new friends out of trouble. When Dixon is being assessed for a promotion, he is unkind to Navorsky who manages to have many photocopies of his hand made while Dixon is tormenting him. His hand becomes like a flag of freedom to the normally unseen airport workers.

The Terminal is a feel-good movie about a man who goes on a journey to fulfill his father’s dream. It reminded me of those nice Hollywood films of the 50’s that promoted community and family. The only unfulfilled part of the movie for me was that Amelia is the only person who does not get unstuck. She does a kind thing for Navorsky that moves the action along, but she, the main female character, remains trapped and never achieves the freedom that lies just beyond the terminal.

A nice film, yes. But once again, it is the story of the (white) male that is offered to us as the example of universal human experience (although many cultures are represented in the film playing key roles – all but two are male.)


  1. I saw the terminal and I was intrigued by the interesting dialogue.  I never got bored.  Viktor's ability to help the man that had a crush on the Visa approval lady was my favorite part.  The comic relief was the director that couldn't get rid of Viktor no matter what he did.  His job was to make sure people followed the rules or he would arrest them.  But when it became an annusiance, he didn't care what the rules were.  The movie was indicative of how the world's system controls out lives. However, Viktor shows us how to submit to authority and still have control over our actions which in turn brings real freedom.
    Viktor didn't waver in his decision to always to what he thought was right.  I thought ,  What a good man.  What a great movie!!!

  2. The Terminal is an excellent, injoyable comedy.  However, it is more than mere comedy. It is good propaganda for secularism:

    With terrific humor, The Terminal unfavorably depicts a representative of the US immigration department, (Frank Dixon played by Stanly Tucci). It brilliantly fosters our sympathy for Viktor Navorsky, the tourist from a small Eastern European country “near Russia”( played by Tom Hanks).

    Showing minority airport workers. positively: it negatively depicts another class of workers. We rejoice to see a freed Victor  going to his native land "near Russia"  Remember the  Fatima 1917 message about Russia?

  3. The Terminal is such a cute movie! I really enjoyed it not to mention Tom Hanks sounded so good with a accent!! Every time he talked my heart just melted! This is one movie I’m definitely going to buy when it comes out on DVD! Awesome movie with nonstop laughs!

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