A Hologram for the King (2016)

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Critic Consensus: A Hologram for the King amiably ambles through a narrative desert, saved by an oasis of a performance from the ever-dependable Tom Hanks.

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Cultures collide when an American businessman (Tom Hanks) is sent to Saudi Arabia to close what he hopes will be the deal of a lifetime. Baffled by local customs and stymied by an opaque bureaucracy, he eventually finds his footing with the help of a wise-cracking taxi driver (Alexander Black) and a beautiful Saudi doctor (Sarita Choudhury).

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Critic Reviews for A Hologram for the King

All Critics (143) | Top Critics (36)

It's hard to imagine a more Tom Hanks-y setup than this.

May 16, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

It looks expensive and comes off bland.

Apr 28, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
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Top Critic

Not even the mighty Tom Hanks can save this scattershot adaptation of Dave Eggers' lost-soul novel

Apr 22, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

To describe this as a movie about a mediocre businessman biding his time before an appointment probably makes it sound more exciting than it is.

Apr 22, 2016 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

If it sounds like Hologram is basically about a middle-aged white guy getting his groove back in the Middle East, well, yes, it is that. But if you squint hard enough, it's also a little bit more.

Apr 22, 2016 | Rating: B | Full Review…

It's a sweet, deliberately meandering movie, and it took me a while to connect with it. But it won me over because ultimately it conveys so well that feeling of estrangement that is both terrifying and comic for any farflung traveler.

Apr 22, 2016 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Hologram for the King

½

Tom Hanks stars in the mediocre comedic drama A Hologram for the King. Based on a novel, the story follows an American businessman who's sent to Saudi Araba to pitch a cutting edge telecommunications system to the king, but the stress from the culture shock soon starts to take an emotional and physical toll. Hanks delivers an excellent performance as usual, and is really too good for this film. The script is poorly written, with a lot of story threads that don't go anywhere and an enigmatic conclusion that doesn't resolve much. Still, it explores some interesting themes about adapting to modernization and foreign cultures. And there's some satiric comedy that's kind of funny. Yet overall, A Hologram for the King lacks a clear focus and its characters are underdeveloped.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

Hanks is great but the film is very flat in the final third. I think the love story was too much, just a few little hints for a connection would've left an ambiguous ending for the character. The ending felt like a tack on when this film is more an indie story and the heart strings weren't required. Maybe the book spelt it out but the film didn't need to, just annoyed the filmmakers didn't lose that unsatisfying conclusion to what was a 4 star film.

Brendan Nicholls
Brendan Nicholls

Super Reviewer

½

Tom Hanks takes us to Saudi Arabia where he's a fish-out-of-water Yank unacquainted with the local customs, some of which could be very dangerous, but it's kept light overall. The biggest shocker for him is a promiscuous Dane, but its this light tone that keeps the film from fully engaging. In one scene Hanks closest Saudi buddy walks in on him with a Saudi woman and things nearly get nuclear pretty fast, but this opportunity, and many others, get passed by for the sake of that light tone. As it is, we're left with a Better Homes and Gardens version that begs in favor of diversity while avoiding some ugly truths.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Often times, I wonder why certain films needed to be or should have been made. This is one of them. Obviously, not every movie is made for me or my demographic, and I try to be mindful of that when passing judgement. However, I find it hard to believe that most people would bother with this one. "A Hologram for the King" is essentially about Tom Hank's first world problems, his brief midlife crisis, him being a fish out of water in Saudi Arabia, and him accepting his failures and starting fresh. It is as exciting as mayonnaise. It is as funny as a bird flying into a window. I would have fallen asleep if I hadn't just drank half a gallon of iced tea. In its defense, there were a few semi-surrealistic moments in the first half of the film, but they never commit to fully weaving that into the narrative. The titular hologram is a Macguffin in a film that should have been called "You've Got Mail 2: Allah My Love". And there are boobs.

K Nife Churchkey
K Nife Churchkey

Super Reviewer

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