Emotional journey to truth
Movies with a child protagonist usually set up one of two scenarios: I worry I'll either be scared me to death or heartbroken. Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the latter.
An adaption of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel, the movie is about nine-year-old adventurist Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) who is obsessed with the memory of his father. Oskar's dad Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks) died during the 9/11 terrorist attack.
In an attempt to feel close to his dad again, Oskar decides to discover the meaning of a key he finds in a paper bag in his dad's wardrobe. The bag has the word Black on it. So he makes a plan to visit all 400 something Blacks in New York City.
Thanks to young actor Horn's tangible portrayal, the movie is utterly heart-wrenching.
The script is sad, but not cheesy. The emotional scenes work simply because of the well executed speechless moments and silent backgrounds, which make you hold your breath.
The movie has drawn extreme reactions. Some critics claim it is a take-it-for-granted tearjerker. Others say it falls short when compared with other 9/11 films.
But they miss the point - Stephen Daldry is the genius who directed Billy Elliot, about a boy chasing his dream. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, likewise, is about a boy learning a very painful lesson and learning how to grow up.