Oh dear! Tom Hanks
is a castaway again. Only this time he’s marooned
at JFK for nine months.
Spielberg, who gave us “E.T.” 22 years ago, is
back with another lovable alien. Only this time
it’s an illegal alien.
Welcome to “The
Terminal,” a fairy tale of warmth, wit and
kindness. Superb actors — Hanks, Stanley Tucci and
Catherine Zeta-Jones — are matched with a genius
director and a thoroughly engaging story. What’s
not to like?
This is the fable
of Viktor Navorski (Hanks), a good-natured
traveler from mythical Krakozhia, a tiny Eastern
European nation. Viktor is a man on a sentimental
mission to New York, but his country falls to
rebel forces while he’s in the air and by the time
he hits passport control at JFK he is a man
without a visa, a country or a word of English.
Tucci plays the
martinet immigration official who won’t permit
Viktor to return to the old country or enter the
new one. Viktor’s new home, until things get
sorted out at home, is Gate 67.
Over the days,
then weeks, then months, Viktor evolves. He starts
out a starving nobody in a glass-and-linoleum
prison of Burger Kings and Border’s, but his good
heart and resourcefulness work their magic.
He teaches himself
English by reading the news crawl at the bottom of
the screen on CNN. Despite his own poverty and
plight, he is not so poor that he cannot lend an
ear or a hand to the broken spirits who people the
He becomes the
poster boy for a listless society of minimum-wage
clerks and multi-national janitors. Then he
becomes their spirit, then their courage. By the
end he’s the Simon Bolivar of the international
transit lounge and all the lost and lonely souls
The movie needs
all of the good will it can generate (which is
tons) to whisk the viewer over some thin spots
near the end. But it’s worth the trip. You never
had such a nice layover.
“The Terminal” is
playing at Maine Coast Mall Cinemas. It is rated
PG-13 but go ahead and bring grammie and the kids.