Film #22: The Terminal

Ahhh, I’ve been waiting to do this review for some time now. As with most movies though, you need to be in the correct mood for them. The Terminal is a movie that I could talk in length about, and if you have seen it, you might be asking, “How? It wasn’t really that interesting.” Well, I guess context and perspective have a lot to do with your opinion of this film…allow me to give you some.

The first time I saw The Terminal, I was with my best friend Corbin Elliott, who now lives in New Zealand, where he is from. I began to really get to know Corbin around sophomore year in high school. By senior year, it seemed that we were inseparable. “Awww, precious…” Yeah, I thought I’d get that out of the way. Anyway, we did everything together, and our friends and family can attest to that. In the summer of Junior year, we started to become bored and decided to got to the local cheap theater to watch a movie. Movies were $3 then, and we spent $3 on the ticket, and another $15 on arcades, ha. The film we wanted to see was The Terminal. 

As the lights dimmed and the Coke commercials featuring music by ‘Queen’ cycled behind trailers for upcoming movies, the movie began to play. We left the theater liking the movie and pleased with our choice. The next day I went to Corbin’s house and we were hit with the same felling of bordom. So…..we went back to the cheap theater….and watched The Terminal again. We left the theater loving it. Pretty soon, going to the Ogden 6 Theater was a ritual, and seeing this movie became a strange obsession. We saw that movie 5 times before we watched something else! To this day, I am not too sure why we sat down and watched a film, that in no way resembles Lord of the Rings (A movie I saw 8 times in theaters). So why The Terminal?

I love this movie, for nostalgic reasons of course, but also because after watching it tonight I realized some deeper things I hadn’t before.

The Terminal follows a man, Victor, who is stuck in an airport terminal after his home country is overrun by rebels. Without a valid visa, he can not return to his home country OR enter onto United States soil. He must therefore live in the airport until the problem is resolved in his country. This film is so interesting to me. I love the interactions that he has with the airport staff, security staff, and supervisors at the airport. You follow Victor on his adventure through navigating the confusing waters into gaining a visa, surviving on next to nothing, gaining employment, and chasing his love interest in an almost impossible situation.

Victor is in New York to fulfill his father’s dying wish. I find that Victors resolve in the entire story to be humbling. Not many people are as determined as the character that Tom Hanks plays in Victor. Victors determination to carry out his fathers dream is strong and so pure. [SPOILER] Near the end of the movie, Victor visits the Jazz lounge where his father wanted to go and receive and autograph from a famous musician. As the din of the Jazz music plays, the camera pans to Victors face which is absolutely heartbreaking, in a good way. You see that he has completed the task, you see that after months and months of uncertainty…He did it. The joy, relief, sadness for his father, elation, pride, and accomplishment is clearly expressed on his face. It’s a perfect, beautiful moment [SPOILER]

The Terminal is a very unique and fascinating journey, one that I have not seen portrayed in film before, and I think Steven Spielburg hit it on the head. Some people say that this film was boring and uninteresting. I say, look past entertainment and become enchanted with a story.


5 thoughts on “Film #22: The Terminal

  1. venkat

    this movie is my favourite.. i dont know why people say it is,cine,atography,dialogues,tom hanks amazing i watched this movie for 20th time..

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