‘The Terminal’: Limbo I Can Relate To

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  01.20.09 | 3:20 PM ET

Photo by Matt Biddulph via Flickr (Creative Commons)

This weekend, on a long distance bus ride, I found myself watching The Terminal. (You know, the one where Tom Hanks lives in JFK for a year and makes out with Catherine Zeta-Jones?) Under ordinary circumstances, I probably would have found it sweet, if fairly forgettable—but on the bus, with snowy, nondescript Western New York sliding by, I was surprised by the way the film’s themes, about waiting and limbo, grabbed me. Airport terminals have a static in-between-ness all their own, but long bus and train rides—despite, obviously, keeping travelers in motion—can have that same quality of suspended animation, too. Being in a strange place, surrounded by strange people, dozing and eating in semi-public, I felt much less like someone watching Hanks’ character from the outside, and more like a colleague—or, well, like a fellow-traveler.

It’s not often that I watch travel movies while I am actually traveling, and “The Terminal” made me wonder whether I’d see many of them differently if I made a habit of matching them with transit. What would I think of “Lost in Translation” if I watched it in a Tokyo hotel? Or if I watched “Roman Holiday” in Rome? I knew a girl, years ago, who swore she’d watched Alive on a flight to Ireland; I always doubted the story, but then again, I saw White Squall while attending summer camp on a tall ship. (And yup, that’s the one about a tall ship adventure gone horrifically wrong.) So I guess anything’s possible.

Have you ever paired travel with a matching travel movie?

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

1 Comment for ‘The Terminal’: Limbo I Can Relate To

TambourineMan 01.23.09 | 4:15 PM ET

Oh Eva, don’t tell me you fell for this maudlin mess of a movie. It’s “Moscow on the Hudson” meets “Forrest Gump” in the airport food court.  Not good.

And I don’t think it was your state of suspended-transit-animation that left you susceptible to Spielberg’s schmaltz. I suspect it was a lack of sleep.

Your friend is fibbing about “Alive.” They don’t show airplane disaster movies on flights.

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