Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 41
  2. Negative: 5 out of 41
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  1. Seeing The Terminal is like experiencing an uneventful flight: The trip was pleasant but not delightful, and you’re happy to deplane at the other end.
  2. 50
    Spielberg believes, admirably, that art can grow from love, and vice-versa. But in The Terminal he makes the mistake of insisting on it, repeatedly.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Here's a film made by grown-ups for grown-ups, on grown-up themes of statelessness and belonging. Yet you could show it to a 6-year-old and have him or her understand all the nuances of plot and characterization.
  4. Like a story-spinner from the "Tales of the Arabian Nights," Steven Spielberg begins by demanding we accept impossible things. If we do, his spell can enchant us; if not, it must vanish like colored smoke.
  5. As usual Spielberg is too bored by everyday life to use his premise for anything but a fairy tale, whose cheap pathos suggests a bad Chaplin imitation. This grows progressively phonier and eventually devolves into "Mr. Roberts," with Stanley Tucci filling in for James Cagney as an airport bureaucrat.
  6. 88
    A sweet and delicate comedy, a film to make you hold your breath, it is so precisely devised. It has big laughs, but it never seems to make an effort for them.
  7. The movie is a delight in many ways: an unabashed romantic comedy and Capraesque fable that takes Spielberg into realms he's rarely traveled before.
  8. As he showed in the recent "Catch Me if You Can," also a Hanks vehicle, Spielberg has little talent for emotional realism, not to mention psychological suspense. He should scurry back to "Jurassic Park" as soon as the next flight leaves.
  9. 80
    Thanks to Spielberg's vivid storytelling and Hanks' matchless gift for bringing the common man to life, this is a relentlessly charming movie.
  10. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Far less cuddly than expected, this unusual and elegant movie may have failed to connect with US audiences but it proves Spielberg is currently the most unpredictable director in Hollywood.
  11. I didn't mind The Terminal, but I didn't really buy it, either. Spielberg has crafted the film with a proficiency as seamless, and impersonal, as the setting, and you may feel, after a while, that you're longing for your departure time.
  12. 70
    It may not be great but you're guaranteed to feel great walking out the theater door.
  13. Reviewed by: Pete Vonder Haar
    There are worse movies out there than The Terminal, but few that feel quite so…unnecessary.
  14. 70
    The Terminal perfectly captures Spielberg's ambivalent worship of capitalism. His big boy's love of gadgetry is everywhere apparent in the security cameras, blinking computer screens and one-way glass walls.
  15. Entertainment like this is too hard to find to second-guess for too long.
  16. 75
    So beautifully directed, so pleasurable to watch and so thoughtfully put together, it's a disappointment when you realize, halfway through, that the movie is going to fall way short of a masterpiece.
  17. Manages to entertain, and yet, like so many flat-footed attempts at waving the flag, it feels disingenuous and dogmatic.
  18. It’s an odd fable: Viktor is the mysterious visitor who shows us what the American Dream is all about--in the movie’s terms, compassion for others--without ever wanting to become an American himself. He's a spiritual twin to E.T., who also had trouble phoning home.
  19. It's an original, and a gamble, and one of those movies that works better than it should, despite considerable flaws of conception and execution.
  20. It's a hokey piece of melodrama in a movie that cheats its characters - and its audience - out of some emotional truth.
  21. Reviewed by: Karen Karbo
    Hanks is remarkable in one of the minor films in smarm-meister Spielberg's oeuvre.
  22. 75
    To be savored for its unhurried approach and simple fish-out-of-water story that favors individual character-driven moments over dramatic plot developments.
  23. 50
    In his sappiest film since 1989's "Always," director Steven Spielberg has come down with a case of the cutes that the whole cast catches.
  24. 30
    Probably the worst-directed film Spielberg has ever made. A peculiarly rhythmless piece of work, it seems to go on forever, though nearly every one of the scenes is cut off before it has been dramatically developed.
  25. I liked every minute in it. Other films are like empty containers; this one's full. It's full of invention, full of moments, full of business, full of the nuances of human interaction, full of feeling.
  26. As well made, entertaining and seductive a showcase for Hanks as it is, the movie doesn't have a magical impact and doesn't stay with you. And while you're watching it, there's always some slight annoyance, inconsistency or motivational-lapse to slap your face in almost every scene.
  27. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Isn't a disaster, but after an entertaining start it congeals into something icky and fake, and it leaves you thinking that Spielberg and his team of screenwriters (Sacha Gervasi and Jeff Nathanson, from a story by Andrew Niccol and Gervasi) missed the real story.
  28. 70
    In the latest of a long string of memorable performances, Hanks balances wide-eyed confusion with innate shrewdness, finding a character who's both unfailingly sweet and nobody's fool.
  29. The net result is a few shaky laughs and one unwavering sensation -- that The Terminal is interminable.
  30. In a summer of remakes, sequels and movies swollen with effects, The Terminal stands out as a strikingly original comedy.
  31. Even at the low end of the Spielberg spectrum, there has always been some air of ingenuity, some sense of the maker's excitement. Not here. The Terminal plods in spirit and execution.
  32. Rarely have I been so acutely aware of a movie's softness and sentimentality, and rarely have I minded less. Some of the credit surely goes to Mr. Hanks...His performance is so easy and amiable that its nuances emerge only in retrospect.
  33. 50
    The Terminal is highly crafted whimsy; it lacks any compelling reason to exist, and its love story is a dud. Ever bashful when it comes to boy-girl stuff, Spielberg has structured the relationship between Amelia and Viktor to be as asexual as possible.
  34. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The Terminal is Spielberg's shortest feature since the first "Jurassic Park," yet it drags, plods, piling one lifeless situation atop another. For all the effort and good intentions, the movie is in-terminal-ble.
  35. 50
    There's a thin line between fable and twaddle, and this feel-good trifle veers dangerously close to the latter.
  36. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    If moviegoers suspend their disbelief -- easy enough thanks to the diverse and talented cast, as well as Spielberg's capable direction -- they're bound to enjoy this cinematic fantasy.
  37. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    This buoyant, optimistic fable seems to share in the late Ronald Reagan's optimism for America. It does so with the help of a gifted comic ensemble led by Tom Hanks.
  38. 40
    Making Viktor a Middle Eastern, a South Asian, or even a Bosnian tourist would have given this trite exercise an edge--and a measure of human pathos.
  39. The Terminal is a terminally fraudulent and all-but-interminable comedy.
  40. Spielberg has made a small and charming story out of The Terminal.
  41. Hanks is great; the movie isn't.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 209 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 70
  2. Negative: 18 out of 70
  1. PatC.
    Sep 6, 2005
    Cheap drawn-out overdramatization and awkward slapstick blows situations that were trying to ring true. Spielberg needs to go back to making Cheap drawn-out overdramatization and awkward slapstick blows situations that were trying to ring true. Spielberg needs to go back to making movies where the characters are carbon-based life forms. Full Review »
  2. Apr 17, 2015
    A good comedy, but nothing that we didn't saw yet. For Steven Spielberg I expected more. Tom Hanks did a great job, but for a comedy? ThereA good comedy, but nothing that we didn't saw yet. For Steven Spielberg I expected more. Tom Hanks did a great job, but for a comedy? There are people more fun and talented for this kind of movies. There are a drama too but it sounds like many other movies that I just saw. Full Review »
  3. Dec 24, 2014
    The Terminal is a slight yet memorable comedy from Spielberg. Hanks is magnetic as usual in the central role and Stanley Tucci is also greatThe Terminal is a slight yet memorable comedy from Spielberg. Hanks is magnetic as usual in the central role and Stanley Tucci is also great as Hanks' nemesis. The Terminal is superior rom-com fluff. Full Review »