Parents' Guide to

The Terminal

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Lovely and well worth sharing with your family.

Movie PG-13 2004 129 minutes
The Terminal Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 10+

Great, emotional movie

I loved this movie. There is so much warmth and camaraderie in all aspects, even the "villain" has a soft side and can be sympathised with without affecting the feeling towards the protagonists. Victor is kind and looks out for the needs of others before his own. Some shouting and emotional moments. There is some banter but it is infrequent.
age 15+

Not apropriate for children under 15

Talk of “sex”’ and a group of airport workers play cards to win a pair of woman’s panties.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9 ):
Kids say (14 ):

Director Steven Spielberg, screenwriter Jeff Nathanson, and star Hanks have created a story of great warmth and depth. Navorski is more at home in the airport than most of the characters are anywhere because he is home in himself. Though based on a true story, the film is more of a fantasy, even a parable. Navorski not only learns English very quickly, but he is an idealized figure. He masters the intricacies not just of eating, sleeping, laundry, and even dating without leaving the airport as well as the immigration and customs laws and even the complete schedule of arrivals and departures. He is ever-patient, wise, and steadfast, enriching the lives of everyone from a bitter janitor to a frantic would-be smuggler, and a vulnerable flight attendant (Catherine Zeta-Jones).

It would be easy to make Navorski a cute guy with a sitcom accent like Latka in Taxi, and the movie almost falls into that trap with some moments of slapstick that threaten to throw off the tone of the story. But Hanks doesn't go for easy laughs and doesn't allow Navorski to be cute. He makes it work with the warmth, grace, modesty, and dignity he brings to Navorski. Zeta-Jones gives her most accessible performance so far, for once playing not a glamour goddess but a real person. Tucci's Dixon is not an unreasonable man, just a small-minded one. Spielberg may make it too much of a fairy tale, but Nathanson's rich mix of wit and sentiment culminates in a moment so moving that it blooms within you as you watch. This movie is simply lovely, with broad appeal on many levels, well worth sharing with family.

Movie Details

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