Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 20, 2012
Sometimes we just need the right mindset to watch some movies and this movie was incredibly moving for me!
Jason Lalljee
Super Reviewer
½ February 6, 2012
Better than I thought it would be. I had every reason to hate it (as it stole a Best Picture nomination better suited to Drive, Harry Potter 7.2, Bridesmaids, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Warrior, or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). It didn't deserve the nomination, but it's a lot better than critics proclaim. An excellent debut from young genius turned actor Thomas Horn, in the best performance from a child actor I've seen this year. In general, I just thought this was a good coming-of-age story. It's about a kid who probably has Aspergers, and who has to learn how to comprehend the complexities of the world around him without the help of his father (this is shown through flashbacks later, where we see his father un-complicating everything). It's pretty touching that way, with a solid if melodramatic approach from skilled director Stephen Daldry. A touching portrait of an imporatant story with good acting across the board, even if it wasn't as good if it could've been.
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2013
I think that it was good that I watched this movie a year so removed from reading the book. Jonathan Safran Foer is so unique (to me anyway) and inventive in his writing that it's hard to translate his books into film (although Everything is Illuminated is one of my favorite movies). So I enjoyed the movie for what it was but there's no comparison between it and the book.
Super Reviewer
September 20, 2012
Has to be one of the best heart warming films of 2012. No trash here a real family film. Tom Hanks Role is short but awesome. A 9-11 story that will grip your heart. The young boy Thomas Horn was over the top and deserves every award out there for someone his age. 5 Stars 8-7-12
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2012
How did this get nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars? I'm still baffled by it. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is about a young boy who loses his father in the September 11th attacks. He finds a key in his father's closet soon after and decides to search New York for the lock. The movie stars Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow and some kid actor who annoyed me. The performances in the movie, with the exception of the kid, are all solid. Tom Hanks has limited screen time, but he's always an excellent actor, Sandra Bullock is great and Max von Sydow's Oscar nominated performance shines in this. The kid actor though...holy crap. The kid in this movie is annoying. All he does in the movie is just scream in the camera. You would think he was Shia Labeouf's son. The movie tries to make you feel sorry for the kid, but there's one scene where he starts yelling at his grieving mother, then he goes to the kitchen, starts throwing stuff around and cussing out his own mother. Some stuff just needs to be cleaned up and all I can say is that the kid needs to get punched in the face. I didn't buy the character's emotions and I also didn't buy the emotion of the movie. The film has 9/11 in the mix for a few minutes and I guess the director wanted to make people feel sad about the tragedy, but he seemed to be milking the event. That's my biggest complaint about the movie; the emotion. This movie tries way too hard to make the audience cry and feel sad, but it fails. Like I said, the kid was a little asshole and I don't think the parents got enough screen time for me to be able to connect with them. There are moments in the movie that I did think were genuinely touching, but not exactly anything to shed a tear over. I also think the way the movie ended was a complete cop-out. The movie just builds up to something and I actually got eager to see what was going to happen, but then the only thing that happened was disappointment. I've never read the book so I have no clue how this movie differs from the source material, but if the book ended the way the movie did, then I'm not sure if I could even bother with the book. This movie did get a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars, but it lost thankfully. This is the worst Best Picture-nominated movie I've ever seen. The emotion is too forced, the end was cheap, some parts play out as cliche and despite some strong acting and a few nice scenes that felt in sync with the events of the film, the movie just falls flat.
Super Reviewer
½ November 27, 2011
The second hour is very good - shame about that first one. I don't think I'd have been able to sit through the whole thing without having read the novel it's based on; while author Jonathan Safran Foer got away with a lot of sentiment by using a complete bag of postmodern tricks - including a chapter with all the problem bits, most of them gushy or sentimental elements, circled or crossed out in red pen - the film can't hope to achieve the same effect, as it never steps outside its frame... and when presented as a completely plot-oriented narrative, it's mushy and boring as all get out and the first-person narration from a (rather talented) child actor is cloying. The story would have lent itself well to an avant-garde take, but when shot like standard Hollywood fare, the film can't stand on its own two feet. An unfortunate misfire.
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2012
A very beautiful, and unusual movie. A fantasy, an adult fairy tale. The boy, Thomas Horn, who totally carries the movie is amazing. The script, direction and music, stunning. It took me a short while to get into this movie, but as it went along I was drawn in because of the boy. All of the characters were great, and it was interesting to see how their parts in this movie played out. The movie draws you in, deeper and deeper, and then hits with an emotional ending. The ending hit me hard, and I found myself looking for tissues. Very, very, sad, moving, and wonderfully done.
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2012
Maybe the story is set to piggyback on a disaster, but its hard to deny that 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' is a solid film. Horn does great as a newcomer and Bullock is quiet strength, and Von Sydow is amazing in a wordless role. The film feels like its just trying to jerk some tears, and it feels unfair due to the backdrop of the story. Real drama stems from people being people, not using 9/11 as a means to produce a tear or two. Yes, it is heartbreaking, and there is no doubt that this film will touch on those emotions that people silently harbored about 9/11 for all these years. However, its not really the best cinematic choice one can make.
Super Reviewer
March 27, 2012
Its not surprising that i found this movie disappointing, its reviews weren't that high so its no surprising that im in agreeance with the critics.
You have three phenominal actors and yet they take a back bench with this movie leaving it to the talented Thomas Horn, who did do a great job, the only problem is, is that i found his character incredibly annoying and wuite frankly thought he needed a slap or something!
Bullock and Hanks are rare in this movie but they still get a star each purely on the minor scenes they were in! Its a sweet movie, dont get me wrong, its sweet, amusing in places and it is sad however its more sad for the fact off the actual footage of 9/11 not because i was feeling any emotion toward the lead character! Its a truly unsatisfying movie, the movie tried to be an emotional, heart wrenching tale of one boy searching to be closer to his dad before he loses him forever in memory but the movie at points tries really hard to capture that and becomes very close but for the most part the movie fails to engage me emotionally and your left feeling bored.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2012
Extremely Loud is a picture of undeniable heart and it honestly moved me. Oskar's hike through the streets of New York City is quite stirring. It starts out as a seed of an idea, but the concept develops into a full fledged scavenger hunt, much like the interactions he used to have with his father when he was alive. It takes time, but the purpose slowly germinates until before you know it, it has developed into a quietly poignant emotional journey. His interactions form the basis of the story with actors Max von Sydow, Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright logging the most screen time. They're interesting as well, but the biggest surprise is that Sandra Bullock provides the film's best scenes. By the end, I was overcome by emotion. There's one particular moment of such pure virtue, it made the film for me.
Super Reviewer
April 23, 2012
I went in wanting to not like this movie after it got the Oscar nomination for best picture over some much more qualified movies were snubbed based on critic opinion alone even though I had not seen it. While I still don't think it was quite deserving, I can see why it was nominated. It's a tearjerker for sure and one that feels truthful in what it is depicting on screen. The tragedy of 9/11 is seared into many peoples brains even 10+ years after the events have happened and this movie definitely shows just how hard it could hit even when it shouldn't have. The main character is certainly pretty detestable at the beginning and had me scoffing at how ridiculous he was, but he grows and matures throughout the story and by the end you feel his pain. There's some memorable characters along the way too, not the least of which is the Oscar nominated performance by Max Von Sydow.
Super Reviewer
½ February 26, 2012
One of the most interesting films of the year...
Super Reviewer
½ April 12, 2012
Thomas Horn plays an amazing kid who goes on a journey searching for "Black" after the death of his father, played by Tom Hanks. It was very different, but an inspiring story. I enjoyed the ending.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2012
Thomas Schell: If things were easy to find, they wouldn't be worth finding. 

"This is not a story about September 11th. It's about everyday after."

This is a really hard movie to decide whether I liked or not. At times it was a moving and heartfelt film that really had me feeling for Oskar and his mom. At other times, it was Extremely overdone and Incredibly annoying. Oskar's narration annoyed me a lot, but it wasn't all that annoyed me. There was too much that annoyed me to even talk about. But it also seems that for every detail or scene I hated, there was something that balanced it out. No matter how much you hate the movie(as a lot of people have), you can't argue that it isn't technically well made and that there aren't good performances. You could argue however that in how well made it was, there are a lot of gimmicks and the director never turns away from a potential tearjerking scene. If you have problems with movies that are overdramatic or over sentimental, you won't like this because it is both. It definitely doesn't shy away from sentimentality and tears.

I just don't know how I feel about this film right now. I didn't hate it, but I couldn't, with any confidence, say I liked it either. There's definitely elements of the film that I had major problems with, but to just completely right it off like many have done; seems wrong. I believe it has its merits and that if you give it a chance it could potentially affect you. It may not be an Oscar level film, but it is an interesting film nonetheless. Had the director gone a different way with a few plot details and had he avoided all the predictable moments, this could have been one of the better films of 2011. As it stands, it is just okay.
Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2012
Jonathan Safran Foer's books are nigh unadaptable, or so it seems from the two forays thus far. The movie versions of both Everything Is Illuminated and EL&IC neglect the rich histories of the protagonists' ancestors which are essential to understanding the human tapestry Foer weaves. It's really a shame because as most critics have trumpeted, EL&IC is a maudlin mess that capitalizes on tragedy whilst the book is certainly not so.

There are definitely more obvious tear-jerking scenes in the movie, but perhaps my positive bias towards the book enabled me to forgive the face-value and actually be moved to some extent. Thomas Horn is precocious and alienating in a great way. His big anime eyes express a vast chasm of loss, guilt, awkwardness, and misunderstanding. His monologues detailing all the things that scare him, the eccentric habits of the people he meets, and the meticulous calculations that will bring him closer to finding the lock that fits the mysterious key are frenetic and Rain Man-esque.
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2012
This overly sentimental drama could have been genuinely sensitive and moving, but got mined by bad narrative choices. It is not only manipulative, given the exploitative matter, but also has an extremely obnoxious protagonist that pushes our patience to a very limit.
Super Reviewer
½ January 28, 2012
Heartfelt and well-intended, if also labored and partially obnoxious. I can see why the opinions are so split when it comes to the ratings of this film. On one hand we have a poignant family drama, that draws great radiance from its wonderful actors. On the other, however, not much of what they say feels very genuine or natural, and the young boy upon which the story has its focus, does repeatedly cross over from precocious to annoying. Somewhere around the middle though, it got a lot better. Once I accepted its evident flaws, I was quite moved by the story, as main character Oskar Schell deals with the loss of his father, whom tragically lost his life during the 9/11 attacks. It's also a compelling adventure set in beautiful New York, where Oskar searches all over the city, for the lock that goes with a mysterious key left behind by his late father (played terrifically by Tom Hanks). In some scenes he comes off as a very weird and awkward kid. Like when he meets a woman who is in tears after a recent divorce, and the first thing Oskar does is asking if he can take her picture. I mean, how is that not creepy? It felt more like I was watching the humble beginnings of a future serial killer. What saves the film from pretentiousness, however, is the pathos-laden plotline, along with the superlative supporting cast including John Goodman, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow and, as mentioned, Tom Hanks. Sydow especially gives an extraordinary performance, even though he plays a mute old man, who never speaks a word, save through his pen and paper block. At an impressive age of 82, he's not showing any sign of fading, doing his character just as brilliantly as he would have 20 years ago. It is in regard to all this fine acting, that I quite liked the film overall. Many will call it contrived and to that I can agree, but once the mind stops judging the film and the heart takes the helm, that's when the movie shows its true colors and grips you through and through. So as long as you can overlook its weaknesses, you may be surprised to find that it's well worth the investment. Both time-wise, emotionally and in the slight thinning of the wallet.
Super Reviewer
½ February 25, 2012
Once the sentiment, the tears, and the life lessons settled in and the credits started to roll, I wasn't quite sure what to take away from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. On 9/11, the world lost thousands of husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. New York City was forever changed. Is there really a need for a movie to reiterate common knowledge? Yet what this film attempts to do is focus on a child who has lost his father in this horrible event, and throughout the course of the narrative, this child will learn to accept death and move on. This is staple stuff for a movie that wants the audience to identify with a small story that is essentially a metaphor for a much larger tragedy.
Oskar (Thomas Horn) loves is father, Thomas (Tom Hanks). Thomas frequently sends Oskar on little adventure quests that help him make sense of the world around him. Oskar suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, which causes a lot of "weird" behaviour, but in a nutshell, this disease prevents Oskar from being able to digest and understand subtle nuances in human emotional expression. He says what's on his mind and doesn't understand why that could be offensive to some people. When Thomas dies in the collapse of the World Trade Centre, Oskar can't seem to understand exactly what has really happened. Going through his father's things, he stumbles across a key in an envelope with the word "Black" written on it. Thinking that Black is the last name of some New Yorker, Oskar begins an expedition to seek out everyone living in New York City with the last name of Black. This quest, as Oskar believes, will reveal his father's last secret.
There is a much better film playing about similar themes. That film is called Hugo. While the acting of both films is on par with the other, the latter film has a more honest approach. Both protagonist children are looking for meaning in their lives, a place where they can understand themselves and the people around them. The films differ in every other aspect, but thematically, the two could not be more similar. The death of a father and the child coming to terms with it is a very sad, difficult-to-digest plot.
Viola Davis delivers her second performance where she's in the movie for maybe fifteen minutes, but her scenes form the backbone of the entire film. This woman deserves an Oscar because I believe that she is one of the greatest actresses of our time. Jeffrey Wright and Sandra Bullock are also excellent. Where the story stumbles is in its consistent aspiration to make its audience gush with feelings. There's nothing wrong with making a movie about a national tragedy and focusing it on a young child having to grief for his father. But Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is stuffed to the brim with contrivance and characters always crying. It may be occasionally moving, but for the most part, the film feels forced, and doesn't quite create the heartfelt experience it wants to instill in the audience.
Super Reviewer
½ October 7, 2011
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely good

When I first heard about this movie, and saw the trailer, I have to admit that I grew a sort of resentment towards it. However, taking the risk and watching has been one of the greatest choices I've made because I really got to see how good this movie really is.

It tells the story of a problematic, kid named Oskar, who suffers from a mild autism. After his father's death in 9/11, Oskar is left hopeless as his father, whom he relied on for almost everything as they played around with expedition and discovery games, leaves him with nothing to dwell his wild mind. One day, as Oskar says it "If the sun were to blow up, we would still have light and warmth for eight minutes, I feel like my eight minutes with my dad is running out", so in order to maintain a rememberence of his father, Oskar finds a key in his fathers urn, and he things this Key was his fathers last missing quest. He decides to find the lock for this key, and searches all over new york city, this quest eventually transforms him.

The story of this movie is very well centered. The idea behind it is genius, and although depressing at times, the bitter sweet feeling of this movie is brilliant.

Don't be fooled if you think you are going to watch either Tom Hanks or Sandra Bullock, because they hardly ever appear. The real deal in this movie is this newbie Thomas Horn, who although isn't amazing he is genuine to his character. Then there is Max von Sydow, whom I think deserved the Oscars in his emotional role as The Renter, whom without saying one word creates a highly intriguing character.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, is about over coming obstacles, its about facing your fears, and discovering yourself: and as seen through the eyes of this troubled child who is Oskar, you really embark on this journey with him. This is a very emotional film, very well written, and beautifully put together by Stephen Daldry, who always knows how to create emotional films without forcing the boundaries. I definitely recommend this one guys.

Thomas Schell: "If it isn't difficult to find it is not worth finding".
Super Reviewer
½ November 9, 2011
A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

A lilttle less then what I expected but enough to keep me happy. I thought this film was very good and very original in its own way. I think the plot was interesting as any other great film ever created. Acting was excellent and the supporting cast was the 'key' here. I think it's a little tiny complicated for kids to enjoy but this film really is recommended for everyone, is really good and has 2 nominations for an Oscar including one for Best Picture.

In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died in 9/11, nine-year-old Oskar discovers a key...
The key belonged to his father, he's sure of that. But which of New York's 162 million locks does it open?
So begins a quest that takes Oskar - inventor, letter-writer and amateur detective - across New York's five boroughs and into the jumbled lives of friends, relatives and complete strangers. He gets heavy boots, he gives himself little bruises and he inches ever nearer to the heart of a family mystery that stretches back fifty years. But will it take him any closer to, or even further from, his lost father?
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