Movie Review – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

by on March 7th, 2015
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The most remarkable feature of this film is the talent of young Thomas Horn who portrays 9-year-old Oskar Schell whose father Thomas died in the World Trade Center tragedy of 9/11/2001. The actor is shown in virtually every scene having had to memorize pages of script with difficult words for a 9-year-old to master.

Oskar Schell and his mother Linda (Sandra Bullock) are devastated by the death of their husband and father Thomas on 9/11. Oskar has been diagnosed with Asberger’s disease, a form of autism. His particular symptoms are demonstrated by high intelligence, obsessive actions and inordinate fears of people, heights, and buses. His father was Oskar’s greatest support, creating games which challenged Oskar’s intellectual abilities.

During his grieving process, Oskar found in his father’s closet a blue vase containing a key in an envelope with the word Black written on it. He developed a compulsion to locate the lock which the key would open. A telephone book revealed that there were over 400 people named Black in the various boroughs of New York City. Thus, Oskar’s odyssey began – a search for all of the Blacks in the telephone book.

Oskar’s grandmother lived across the courtyard and Oskar contacted her often, by flashlight, phone and shouting. He was perplexed when she acquired a boarder whom she only referred to as The Renter. Oskar and The Renter became friends even though a traumatic event rendered The Renter speechless. He communicated with Oskar through writing on a pad. The Renter insisted on accompanying Oskar on his adventure to locate the person named Black who might provide the clue to the box or door to which the key belonged.

Flashbacks reveal much about the relationship between Oskar and his father (portrayed by Tom Hanks). Sandra Bullock’s part was not large until the end when she reveals her deep-seated concern for her son’s problem even as she suffered her own desolation and loss.

Anyone who has a relative or friend who was lost in the World Trade Center tragedy on 9/11/2001 would do well to skip this film. My daughter’s sister-in-law was killed there on that day and it was extremely emotional for me to revisit some of the scenes which were incorporated into the film.

At this time, the nominations for the Academy Awards for 2012 have been revealed, although the winners will not be known for some time. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close earned the nomination for Best Picture, and Max von Sydow, who played the mute Renter received the nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Use your own judgment as to whether you can view the scenes and hear the story of just one family who has been forever affected by the events of 9/11.


Movie – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

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