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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

Written by Eric Roth (screenplay) and Jonathan Safran Foer (novel),
Starring Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock,
Rated PG (mild themes and coarse language)

Reviewed by Mardi Lumsden.

BASED on the acclaimed novel of the same name, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close follows 11-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist Oskar Schell as he searches New York City for the lock that matches a key he finds in his father’s closet a year after his death in the World Trade Centre on 11 September, 2001.

This is a story of heartbreaking loss and examines how grief touches people in diff erent ways.

It is not about the attack on the World Trade Centre, but of every day after that.

The film has captured Jonathan Safran Foer’s skill for writing characters with great depth that are not necessarily immediately likeable, yet grow on you to become like old friends.

When I saw that stars Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks were in this film I was worried one of my favourite books would be turned into a schmaltzy Hollywood blockbuster, but I was pleased to see that was not the case.

First-time film actor Thomas Horn does a remarkable job playing the complex Oskar Schell.

The 15-year-old’s only previous acting experience was in his elementary school’s production of James and the Giant Peach.

Oskar’s desperate and seemingly impossible search leads him to visit everyone in New York with the last name Black in the hope of holding on to his father’s memory.

The only problem is that Oskar is terrified of most things (including the subway) so travels with essentials like a gas mask and a tambourine that calms him down in stressful situations.

On the way he encounters an eclectic array of people, each survivors in their own way.

This is a great example of the impact one person can have on the lives of others.

There are moments with Oskar and his mother that are hard to watch as they both grieve in their own way and his seemingly distant mother tries to make life as normal as possible.

This film does not have the classic Hollywood ending but one that is realistic yet remains uplifting.

Sometimes the greatest journeys are those of selfdiscovery that overcome fears and grief.

To this end, the odd little boy at the heart of this film can be a role model to us all and certainly found a place in my heart.

Nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is highly