Previews for the new movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, made me extremely nervous and incredibly leery. Not because of the intense subject matter surrounding September 11th, but mainly because I absolutely loved the book and couldn’t imagine how the many subtle, endearing nuances of the main character could be portrayed on the big screen. Unfortunately, my reservations were confirmed last week when I had an opportunity to see the film.
When I first read the book a few years back, I fell madly in love with it. I bought copies for book-loving friends and recommended it to anyone who would listen. There was something about the way Jonathan Safron Foer wrote the main character of Oskar that had me wrapped around Oskar’s little finger, and his heavy boots. Thomas Horn, an eleven-year-old, non-actor who was who plucked from Kids’ Week on Jeopardy, plays the lead character. Though the story line is intense, as Oskar’s father is killed on 9/11, his delivery was too heavy, and did not capture the same engaging innocence I found so appealing in the book. Part of it was that he seemed too old to play Oskar, who was written as an immature nine year old boy, with hints of Asperger’s.
For a full review of the film, I recommend reading David Edelstein’s review on NPR.com, entitled, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Manipulative. He summarizes my general feeling for the film perfectly.
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Overall, I was quite disappointed, particularly because it was not the wonderfully endearing story I was expecting. But also because of the overly-dramatic pulling on heart-strings, and unrelenting intensity with no respite for the viewer. My husband and friends who saw it with me left feeling depressed and angst-ridden, rather than inspired and heart-warmed as I was when I finished the book.
This Sappy Mom gives it only 1 out of 5 fist pumps. (But go get the book tomorrow!)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close hits theaters nation wide on January 20th.