Based on the novel by Jonathan Saefran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is about a bright young boy named Oskar Schell trying to make sense of the world around him after his beloved dad's death in the attack of 9/11. When his father was still alive, they'd play a game called the Renaissance Expeditions - scavenger hunts that led Oskar all around New York. His father had designed it so that his son was put into situations to talk to people, and he left clues everywhere. Still struggling with his grief a year after his father's death, Oskar finds an unusual key in an envelope with the name "Black" written on it. He is determined to complete the last Renaissance Expedition to stretch his final moments with his dad. He visits every single person with the last name "Black", and the journey takes him all around Manhattan. Every door that opens has a heartbreaking story to tell, and Oskar realizes that the key may open the unlikeliest box ever, which may lead him back to the unlikeliest source ever - home.
Extremely Loud was incredibly moving. At one point I just stopped fighting back the tears and let it flow. The entire theater probably heard my hiccups. Putting the acting and filming aside, the very storyline about people coping with grief is heartbreaking, especially in the attack of 9/11. I was only two years old when it happened and I don't remember anything about it, but through this movie I could feel the pain and anguish the families went through from Oskar's perspective.
We see Oskar trying to mend himself, trying to hold on to his dad, trying to stretch the time he had left with him. He feels far away from his mom, and carries a very heavy burden on his shoulders. As one might expect, this movie calls for and demands a strong performance on the child actor's part, the talented first-timer Thomas Horn, who delivered beyond what was anticipated. Even so, it was actually Tom Hanks (who played the father) and Sandra Bullock (in the role of the mother) and the supporting cast who drove the movie right to my heart. Oh, and don't forget the mysterious inconsolable mute Renter (Max von Sydow), with the words "Yes" and "No" tattooed on his left and right hands respectively, who develops a unique friendship with our young protagonist.
Extremely Loud is rated PG-13 for "emotional thematic material, some disturbing images, and strong language." Oskar does use a variety of profanity. He says the f-word, two s-words, and a few others. He deliberately bruises and pinches himself as a response to his overwhelming emotional pain. Some scenes are intense, and only because the characters are well rounded and tangible. Yet the movie did not let me leave the theater feeling depressed - rather, the intertwined storylines were all about a journey of healing. The score was beautiful - it added such depth and brought out the poignancy in every single scene. Parents should be aware that this movie is not suitable for kids. This is a PickIt! Ages 15+