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Viktor Navorski is a man without a country; his plane took off just as a coup d'etat exploded in his homeland, leaving it in shambles, and now he's stranded at Kennedy Airport, where he's holding a passport that nobody recognizes. While quarantined in the transit lounge until authorities can figure out what to do with him, Viktor simply goes on living – and courts romance with a beautiful flight attendant.

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Tom Hanks is a perennial favourite in our house, and his 2004 movie _The Terminal_ is one that somehow I missed along the way. I’ve now fixed that and it’s time to talk about it. Let’s start with the official description:
_Victor Navorski is a man without a country; his plane took off just as a coup d’état exploded in his homeland, leaving it in a shambles, and now he’s stranded at Kennedy Airport, where he’s holding a passport that nobody recognises. While quarantined in the transit lounge until authorities can figure out what to do with him, Viktor simply goes on living - and courts romance with a beautiful flight attendant. _
A man stuck in an airport for months on end, sounds a little far fetched? Not so much - this was actually inspired by the true story of a man named Merhan Nasseri who lived at Charles DeGaulle Airport in France from August 1988 to August 2006, yes, 18 years. He got stuck when his refugee certification documents were stolen from him in France, en route from Belgium to England. It’s an incredible story, and worth reading up on on Wikipedia.
The movie is pretty light and fluffy stuff, and Hanks is well cast as the curious and friendly Navorski. He makes the most of his situation and quickly adapts to his circumstances, and makes a number of friends with various airport staff. He also makes an enemy in the character played by Stanley Tucci, the Customs Director at the airport.
While at times it felt a bit like _Product Placement: The Movie_, it’s a charming movie that despite a few unrealistic - things like his rapid progress in a English - takes you along for a good fun ride. Hanks is great, his friends are a suitably quirky bunch, and Tucci plays the bad guy really well too. Catherine Zeta-Jones is in this too, but seems a little shoehorned in. There’s enough to work with with the “stuck in the airport” situation and didn’t really need a romantic plot line, but I guess these are the things that get done to make it appeal to a wider audience.
It’s just been removed from the Netflix catalogue here in Australia - which was the reason I finally watched it - but if you happen to come across it, it’s a really nice film that will warm your heart for a couple of hours.

Amblin Entertainment, Parkes/MacDonald Productions, DreamWorks Pictures by Steven Spielberg, Andrew Niccol, Sacha Gervasi, Jeff Nathanson.
Stars: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chi McBride.

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Keywords: new york city airport marriage proposal translation craftsman stewardess illegal immigration language barrier jfk international airport immigration law fast food restaurant jazz singer or musician saxophonist autograph passport eastern europe friendship


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