Of the many untold stories during the events of September 11th, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close paints an intimate portrait of one family’s story, through the eyes of an eccentric eleven year-old boy. Adapted by Oscar Winning screenwriter, Eric Roth, the film is based on Jonathan Safran’s best selling novel of the same title. We follow the journey of Oskar Schell played, by now fourteen year-old, Thomas Horn. Horn attempts to make sense of the death of his father, played by Tom Hanks, by searching for the lock to a key discovered in his father’s closet. His search forces him to reconnect with his family and ultimately conquer his biggest fears.
Although the film features Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, it is the riveting performance of newcomer Thomas Horn that captures the audience from beginning to end. First spotted after winning Jeopardy Kid's Week, Thomas' portrayal of a child prodigy is not too far off from his real life. He spends much of his free time learning different languages; studying Spanish, Mandarin, and is fluent in Croatian. Thomas breathes life into the character of Osker Schell, performing beyond his years and evoking the truth of all aspects of losing a loved one. His performance is no doubt, credited to award- winning director, Stephen Daldry; who having lost his father at the age of 14, brought a dynamic pulse to the aesthetics and sentiment of the film.
It was pleasant to see Sandra Bullock in the supporting role of Horn’s mother, coming off her recent Oscar winnings; being able to pass the reign over to first time actor Thomas Horn. The film demonstrates the importance of a parent’s connection with their child.
Although the events of September 11th hold as the backdrop, the film lacks a strong plot. The film is loaded with tender moments that remind us to take time to pay attention to the people we love, even when things don’t always make sense.