Extremely Loud and Incredible Close (2011)
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writers: Eric Roth (screenplay), Jonathan Safran Foer (based on the novel by)
Stars: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock
Before I begin I have to say, I didn’t know much about this film when I walked into the cinema. I knew it was a book and that it had been acclaimed, and that people had said the film didn’t live up to the book. I walked out with tears still streaming down my face and with a new perspective on the world and people. I still haven’t read the book, but I don’t really want to because I loved the film so much and it made me feel so many emotions in the one film experience.
The story of 9/11 resonants for most people. No matter where you were, who you are, whether you knew someone that died there or not, you have been affected by it because it has shaped the start of the 21st century. Most people have a story about where they were when they heard (especially if you live in the western world), and so when someone tells their story it hits special kind of nerve. It has the power to bring people together. Just like the moon landing did for a generation before, or the start of the great wars for the generation before that. There is something both wonderful and terrifying about a world event that connects us and divides us.
This particular story is told through the life of a little boy whose experience of that day shapes even more so who he is, who he will become, and how he experiences the world. The way he is pushed to collect people’s stories, to explore New York, to bring people together, and to find his way back home draws you into his world. Oskar Schell is a strange boy, and I know a lot of people found Thomas Horn’s portrayal a little annoying but I fell in love with the little lad and his family. His journey is tortured and Horn’s performance gives it a beauty and fight that was rich and pure. Sandra Bullock’s acting was, as always, breathtaking and heartbreaking as the mother of this tortured boy and Tom Hanks was as playful as ever. The heart and soul that this film had was touching and I loved going along the journey with Oskar as he dealt with the grief and regret he had after losing his father in 9/11. The event that has shaped so many lives still has a power over us as the generations of the start of the 21st century and it is so important to keep telling our stories as we live with the repercussions of that event.