Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, is about a little boy named Oskar who has lost his father in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. A year after that traumatic event, Oskar begins going through his father's things and finds a mysterious key. Overcome with curiousity and missing the reconnaissance missions his father used to send him on, Oskar sets out on an adventure, taking months and travelling all over New York City in search of whatever the key may unlock.
This story is beautifully heartbreaking. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are wonderful as Oskar's outgoing, amiable father and his mother, struggling but so strong. Zoe Caldwell, Max von Sydow, John Goodman, Viola Davis, and many more vibrant actors populate this world of family members and friends and strangers and pieces of the puzzle. But, most of all, Thomas Horn in the lead role is astounding. His portrayal of this grieving child, who is also almost certainly on the autism spectrum, is so exquisite, so detailed, so evolved, that I have trouble even after finishing the film thinking of him as anyone but Oskar Schell.
Fantastic work by Stephen Daldry (who also directed Billy Elliot and The Hours), the extensive cast, and what must be a great crew, who pulled off an entertaining film where you'll actually laugh and cry, and who never once make you feel like you're watching a Lifetime special. Bravo.
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