Editor’s note: Welcome to the twenty-eighth of a 32-part series dissecting the 84th Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Every day leading up to the Oscars, a new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category of the Oscars. To read any other posts regarding this event, please click the tag following the post. Thank you, and enjoy!
By Clarabela of Just Chick Flicks
Newcomer Thomas Horn is convincing as Oskar Schell, a 9-year-old boy who is much smarter and more sensitive than most boys his age. Oskar thinks and feels deeply the worlds’ pain and it frightens him. He is a boy who sees a world around him that is not safe and doesn’t make sense. Fortunately for young Oskar, he has two loving parents (played by Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock) who feed his intelligent mind and calm his anxieties. Oskar’s father, Thomas, particularly helps his son by sending the boy out into the world on a series of “expeditions.”
Even though he is afraid to play on the swings in Central Park (he thinks they are not safe), Oskar is encouraged by his father to explore the park for clues to find New York City’s “lost 6th borough.” With the help of his father, his grandmother and some homemade business cards, Oskar goes out into the wilds of Central Park searching for clues to find the mysterious lost borough.
The Worst Day
Director Stephen Daltry (Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader) starts this heart warming and thoughtful movie with scenes from “the worst day,” September 11th. In flashbacks, Daltry shows us the tender moments and close relationship between father and son. Already a shy and frightened boy, Oskar shrinks further into his shell after the death of his father on September 11th.
One year later, Oscar goes into his Thomas’ closet hoping to find a way to be close to his father for just a few more moments. While going through his father’s things, he accidentally breaks a blue vase and finds a small brown envelope that holds a key.
Looking For Clues
A key to what? That is the question that burns in Oskar’s mind. Thinking the key must be a clue left by his dead father, the boy sets out on his greatest expedition ever. To find the lock that the key opens and, more importantly, to find out why his father left it for him.
Daltry takes us on the journey throughout New York City’s neighborhoods and boroughs and from a boy’s eye view, we feel the immensity of the city and Oskar’s anxiety. As he searches for clues for a way to make sense of a world that doesn’t make sense, we are there alongside him.
Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, and with a screenplay by Eric Roth (The Insider, Forrest Gump) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is filled with wonderful, touching and understated performances. Max von Sydow gives a quiet performance as ‘The Renter,’ which earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. We are also treated to a lovely cameo from Oscar nominee Viola Davis as one of the people Oskar meets on his expedition. John Goodman as the Doorman, Zoe Caldwell as the Grandmother and Jeffrey Wright as Mr. Black each give life to their characters for their few on-screen moments.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close brought me to tears quite a few times. A frightened young boy, a family that loses a beloved father, the kindness of strangers, believe me, I was not the only person in that theater reaching for a Kleenex.
Tags: Best Picture, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Just Chick Flicks