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The Terminal

Genre: Drama/Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: STEVEN SPIELBERG
Produced by: LAURIE MACDONALD
Starring:
TOM HANKS, CATHERINE ZETA-JONES
Released by: Dreamworks

In Short: The Terminal is a relatively tasty morsel in an otherwise milquetoast genre.

Now Boarding
You Never Had So Much Fun at the Airport
By Poppy Carew

Given the amount of time we spend eating in nice restaurants—and writing about eating in nice restaurantsit doesn’t seem possible that we could be impressed by a meal of airplane food (straight from the trays) served by candlelight on a back hallway balcony overlooking a runway at JFK Airport. But halfway through The Terminal, as Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones sit down to eat, impressed we were. Airport food, from burgers and fries sold in the terminal to ready-made meals served on planes, plays a major role in this movie. And somehow, given the associations that come with each mealcomfort, friendship, loveit often actually looks appealing.

As for the movie itself, the premise is pure Steven Spielberg: goofy, sappy and clunky (but forgivably so) in parts. Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, traveling from a fictitious country to New York City to fulfill a promise he made to his now dead father. Upon arrival, the bumbling Viktor (who speaks very little English) learns that a coup overturned his country’s government and he is now statelessunable to come or go. Trapped in JFK, he makes himself at homeand develops some friendships along the way.

While much is made of his budding romance with Amelia, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, it is actually his relationships with three airport workers that steal the show. In particular, Kumar Pallana (of Wes Anderson movie fame) stands out as a curmudgeonly janitor, Gupta, who thinks Viktor is CIA sent to spy on the airport crews. He dominates every scene that includes him, especially the ones in which, having just mopped the floor, he sits down on a bench and waits for someone to come along and slip
his only form of entertainment in what we eventually learn is a very bleak life. He also lights up the balcony dinner scene, although we don’t want to give too much away. In short, The Terminal is a relatively tasty morsel in an otherwise milquetoast genre.


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