The majority of the films to include the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 as part of their plot, so far, have been purely manipulative, unnecessary and unwarranted. That was my biggest fear with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close before seeing it. Luckily, I was wrong and the touchy material was handled in the most perfect way.
Based on a novel, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is the story of a boy, Oscar, in New York City who’s had a tough life. Doctors believe he has Asperger’s Syndrome, but test results are inconclusive. To help him with his odd condition, his father (Tom Hanks) creates large scale treasure hunts across the city that require him to put his strong mind to use as well as interact with other people. But all that is lost on 9/11, as Oscar’s father is in one of the towers on that dreadful day.
One year later, Oscar and his mom (Sandra Bullock) are struggling. Not having those games/exercises to help Oscar, he’s become a recluse. In reality, his mom doesn’t handle it any better. Both feel the memory of their father/husband slipping away. But when Oscar discovers a clue to a new game that his father had set up for him before his death – the biggest treasure hunt yet – he sets off on the ultimate mission in hopes of bringing his father back into his life again.
The film bounces around from before the attack, the day-of the attack and one year later after the attack. Watching this film will not only bring back the melancholy sentiments that you felt on that day, but also the positive and hopeful ones that unified us all afterward. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close may sound like too much to bear and less than uplifting, but know that it’s the complete opposite. It’s beautiful and inspiring, offering us another chance to return to that peaceful unified state we were all in following September 11.
If you give it a shot, I’m certain that you’ll be touched by the genuine heartfelt story and message it conveys.