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'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close'

A movie directed by Stephen Daldry

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A Different Coming of Age Tale

  • Jan 22, 2012
Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) shares an incredibly close relationship with his father, Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks). Oskar is an extraordinary child who has some very particular social quirks. His list is rather extensive and it's revealed that he was once tested for Asperger's Syndrome. However, Thomas Schell spends a great amount of time with his son and does everything he can to help him overcome his fears. However, on September 11, 2001 as the world changes forever, tragically so does the life of Oskar and his mother, Linda (Sandra Bullock), as Thomas was in the second tower of the World Trade Center when it fell. Linda attempts to move on with life, but Oskar refuses to move forward. A year later, he accidently destroys a blue vase while rummaging through his father's closet and discovers a key in an envelope simply marked "Black". Thomas constantly played games with Oskar and led him on journeys around the city, hiding clues and prizes in the most unexpected places. Oskar is convinced the key is a gift left behind by his father to send him on one last adventure. Determined to find the door the key unlocks, Oskar begins a systematic search of the city, trying to locate the person with the last name "Black" who will be able to help him solve the mystery. Along the way, Oskar becomes acquainted with a man his grandmother has been renting a room to. The man seems to have no name and is simply known as "The Renter" (Max Von Sydow). The Renter is a survivor of WWII and reminds Oskar of his father. The two become unlikely companions and friends as they search the city to unravel the mystery of the key.

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE is based upon a 2005 novel by Jonathan Foer. I've not read the novel, so I can't compare the movie to the book.

The movie is an extremely moving piece of cinema. It goes to places that the audience might not suspect. The movie has a satisfying ending, but it's not necessarily a happy one. Like life, Oskar's journey doesn't turn out exactly as he had hoped. However, like all journeys, it changes his life forever.

The acting in EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE is amazing. Tom Hanks plays a small, but important role. Newcomer Thomas Horn is so powerful that it's difficult to believe this is the first time he's ever acted on film before. Sandra Bullock has a strong supporting role that is worthy of a Best Supporting Actress nomination. Max Von Sydow speaks no lines, but his eyes speak more and convey more emotion than the most well trained politician. John Goodman has what is basically a cameo as Stan the Doorman, but it's always a joy to watch Goodman perform, even in a role such as this. There are numerous smaller roles in the various Blacks that Oskar meets. Most of these characters are only on screen for a few brief moments but each of them ground their scenes in realism. EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE is a good movie that is made great by the acting performances. If for no other reason, it's worth watching for the acting alone.

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE is a very emotional movie. For Americans, particularly those who lived and worked in New York on September 11, 2001, it will probably have a different kind of reaction. However, though the story is told through the lens of September 11th, the film is really a story about a young man coming to grips with the unexpected death of his father. It's a film that will probably resonate with anyone who has lost a parent they were close to. I cried several times and the film really made me think about my own Dad and his untimely death. I left the theatre thinking about many of the memories I have of my Dad. It made me a little sad, but very grateful. In the future, I'm sure that EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE is a movie I'll watch whenever I'm sad and thinking about my Dad because I know that though it might cause a few tears, it'll cheer me up in the end and, like Thomas Schell and my own father, encourage me to not stop looking for whatever adventure life holds.

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January 22, 2012
I'm sorry to hear about the untimely death of your dad. I'm glad this film could help you, I love when that happens. I'm also glad to read such a well-written review because I am looking forward to seeing this. Thanks for sharing your personal story along with your thoughts on the film!
January 22, 2012
Seems pretty engrossing. I need to make time to see this--I got occupied with other movies of late, but this has been getting great reviews. Excellent write up and you gave it such a personal touch that I can feel it.
More Extremely Loud and Incredibly ... reviews
review by . June 24, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****    For me, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is about as difficult to hate as it is to like or even love. The reviews seem quite divided over Stephen Daldry's adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel, with some calling it manipulative melodrama and others considering it effective and very moving. The Academy surely saw something special in the picture, as exemplified by their decision to nominate it for Best Picture at the 84th Academy Awards; although then …
review by . December 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A little too loud at times
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE Written by Eric Roth Directed by Stephen Daldry Starring Thomas Horn, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow and Tom Hanks   Making movies about the September 11 tragedies is unquestionably tricky. You don’t want to gloss over the facts and you definitely don’t want to exploit the pain but you also have to ensure that your movie is not so bleak and depressing that no one ends up seeing it. EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE, the latest film by Oscar …
review by . December 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close represents the best type of sentimentalism there is, in which the aim is not to make you cry but to actually tell a story that will resonate emotionally. It’s not a fairy tale, a fable, or a parable; it’s simply a film that works more on the heart than it does the brain. I don’t always appreciate narrative contrivances, but in this case, I have to admire Daldry and screenwriter …
review by . December 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Loud' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Is Moved By This Post 9/11 Drama
            By Joan Alperin Schwartz      9/11...All you have to do is say that date and most people will have a reaction...usually an emotional reaction...And for me, that emotion is one of saddness...for the senseless loss that so many people experienced.      And now, ten years after that infamous day, Stephen Daltry has directed a beautiful, moving film about...loss.       'Extremely …
Quick Tip by . May 10, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Saw this on my afternoon flight from Hong Kong to Singapore just last Thursday. I had often wondered how children who lost their parents during the Sep. 11 attack would react and cope with life after learning about their parents' demise. Unbeknownst to me at the time of watching, I had to deal with the unexpected death of a childhood friend that very night. The shock and subsequent reactions to the news is not something one who hasn't experienced will know what it's like. I'm …
Quick Tip by . January 22, 2012
Truly a lovely movie. Thomas Horn, the child who is in pretty much every scene, is a wonder, especially given the fact that he has never acted before. His face fills the screen for so much of the story, and he does an amazing job with the range of emotions he had to play. I was VERY happy to discover that the film was not made to me manipulatively weepy, as so many can be. I was also happy to see that there was almost no footage of 9/11 in the movie. The director uses the actors to express the gravitas, …
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