The Terminal is one of my favourite Spielberg films of the last decade, indeed perhaps the defining film of what I consider Spielberg’s strongest period. Ostensibly a light and fluffy rom-com, it’s actually an astute satire on post-9/11 America that has a powerful message about immigration and the American dream. Spielberg’s Noughties were defined with such tricksy films.
Few reviews picked up on this, but Ian Nathan in Empire #184 (October 2004) did. He writes:
“Steven Spielberg, in later career, is having a whale of a time mixing up his native crowdpleasing with a caustic independent spirit. Yes, The Terminal is funny, romantic and sentimental, but inside Spielberg’s purpose-built airport lounge, an open-plan cathedral of endless flux, he’s channelling both Capra and Kafka. This is a post-millennial fable about how the world really kinda sucks.”
I could add my own thoughts, but what’s the use? ‘Kafka meets Capra’. Perfect!