A/V Room









The Terminal - US reaction

Compiled by: Jack Foley

TOM Hanks has scored another success with US critics, for his latest collaboration with Steven Spielberg - the romantic comedy, The Terminal.

The film tells the story of Viktor Navorski (Hanks), a visitor to New York from Eastern Europe, whose homeland erupts in a fiery coup while he is in the air en route to America.

Stranded at Kennedy Airport with a passport from nowhere, he is unauthorized to actually enter the United States and must improvise his days and nights in the terminal’s international transit lounge until the war at home is over.

As the weeks and months stretch on, Viktor finds the compressed universe of the terminal to be a richly complex world of absurdity, generosity, ambition, amusement, status, serendipity and even romance with a beautiful flight attendant named Amelia (Catherine Zeta-Jones).

The film opened at number two in the US charts, behind Ben Stiller’s latest comedy vehicle, Dodgeball.

The plaudits were led by the Seattle Times, which wrote that ‘The Terminal is quintessential Spielberg: perfectly cast, technically breathtaking, sentimental to the point of being one sugar cube away from gooey and extremely pleasurable to watch’.

Likewise, the New York Times, which wrote ‘rarely have I been so acutely aware of a movie’s softness and sentimentality, and rarely have I minded less’.

Impressed, too, was USA Today, which wrote that ‘if moviegoers suspend their disbelief - easy enough thanks to the diverse and talented cast, as well as Spielberg's capable direction - they're bound to enjoy this cinematic fantasy’.

The Washington Post found it ‘delicately funny and inventive’, while the Los Angeles Times heralded it as ‘an engaging, consistently amusing diversion’.

The Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, referred to it as ‘an unabashed romantic comedy and Capraesque fable that takes Spielberg into realms he's rarely travelled before’.

While the Dallas Morning News described it, simply, as ‘a joyous movie’.

On a more negative note, however, Rolling Stone declared that ‘even the best of talents misfire. Here's Exhibit A’.

And the Philadelphia Inquirer found it to be ‘an uneven mix of comedy and pathos’.

But the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that ‘I'm not in love with The Terminal, but I liked every minute in it’.

And the Hollywood Reporter felt that it is ‘an odd film for Steven Spielberg, which is perhaps why it works so well’.

The Houston Chronicle, meanwhile, declared that it is ‘unavoidably funny and touching enough that we can ignore its weaknesses’.

Entertainment Weekly, however, posted a note of caution, stating: "Spielberg has crafted the film with a proficiency as seamless, and impersonal, as the setting, and you may feel, after a while, that you're longing for your departure time."

But the final two words go to Variety and the New York Post - both of which are positive.

The former wrote that ‘Spielberg does not appear to take himself or the material too seriously, and his steadfast refusal to see the proverbial glass as less than half-full is more inspiring than cloying’.

While the NY Post declared it to be ‘a gentle alternative to noisy kid-oriented action flicks, raucous comedies and the agitprop of Fahrenheit 9/11’.

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