Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Review

9/11 is still a touchy subject, still too close for comfort. So any movie based on the event has heart-tugging potential, since every American was wounded that day, some more than others.

Oskar Schell lost more than others. In the book-turned-film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, young Oskar lost his father in the Twin Towers on 9/11, or “The Worst Day”, as he calls it.

Having been raised by a wonderful father played by Tom Hanks, Oskar took his father’s death quite hard, though he doesn’t let it harm his earnest spirit. Oskar is the most persevering son/amateur pacifist/vegan/oxymoronist/martial artist/inventor, who will stop at nothing to find answers.

Oskar’s father taught him to search, to dive into his curiosity. Oskar will relentlessly search for the pieces of the puzzle that satisfy the questions of his heart. So when Oskar finds a key in his father’s room with the name “Black” on it, Oskar believes his father intended that he find what the key unlocks.

The journey sends Oskar on a wild goose chase, since there are over 400 people with the name of “Black” in one region of New York alone. Oskar even employs the help of an elderly man who can’t speak to help him, and learns from him the art of letting go.

Note that for this movie, as it is often in life, the point isn’t about the destination, as it is the journey. Along the journey, Oskar learns about himself, his family, and about loving family relationships. Most importantly, he learns that it’s okay to be sad and to hurt. It’s also ok to move on. At some point, we have to let go to move toward the future.

While the premise of the story is initially touching and relatable, the intense dramatization is a bit too much to bear without any happy moments mixed in. With such a heavy subject, the movie needed to be more balanced; it was all depression, all time, until the last few minutes.

Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks, who played the Schell parents, were raw and genuine. Their loving natures were believable, and their gestures and mannerisms unique. Thomas Horn, who played Oskar, was a bit too over the top personally, although in certain scenes in the movie, his emotion was spot-on.

While 9/11 is a heavy subject, it seems that the event and the people surrounding it should be portrayed in a hopeful light to reflect that, as a nation, we have let that grief go. 9/11 will never be forgotten. But I don’t think those who were lost would want us to wallow in depression, so Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close shouldn’t, either. We shouldn’t focus on the pain, but rather let its memory propel us forward, motivating us to live each day to the fullest.

Check out this movie review on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close featured at MyBenedictineBlog.com!

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