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.
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
A troubled young boy, Oskar, is trying to cope with the loss of his father. Oskar starts lashing out at his mother and the world. Until a year later, he discovers a mysterious key in his father's belongings and embarks on a scavenger hunt to find the matching lock, just as he used to when his father was alive. On this journey he is bound to meet a lot of people and learn a lot about himself and his family, but will he ever find the lock? Written by
Max von Sydow turned down the role of Hal in Beginners (2010) (eventually taken by his co-star in Skyrim Christopher Plummer) in favor of playing a mute in this film. Both men were Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor for their performances and Plummer won. See more »
The message that appears on the card that Thomas left for Oskar under the swing is almost entirely different from the one that Tom Hanks reads in voice-over. See more »
There are more people alive now than have died in all of human history, but the number of dead people is increasing. One day, there isn't going to be any room to bury anyone anymore. So, what about skyscrapers for dead people, that are built down. They could be underneath the skyscrapers for living people, that are built up. We could bury people 100 floors down. And a whole dead world could be underneath the living one.
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This seems to be really one of those cases of you'll either love this movie or completely, totally hate it. I personally really wasn't expecting much from this movie and knew very little about it as well but I was completely surprised and wowed by it. It's a really warm, heartfelt movie, filled with both adventure and drama.
Things could had so easily turned cheap and sappy in this movie but it really didn't. Instead the movie at all times felt like a real warm and honest one, with some great storytelling in it and no, I'm normally absolutely not a fan of Stephen Daldry's movies and directing approach. What I absolutely loved about this movie is that it's being told almost entirely from the eyes of a child, who has lost his father and is trying to cope with it by going on, what he thinks, is the one last adventure through the city of New York, that his father had planned for him.
Really, over the years we have had many adventure movies of course but how many of them successfully combined it with some true heartfelt drama in it as well. On that level this movie is already really an unique and original one, that works on so many different levels.
It seems that the only reason why some people have some major problems with this movie and are even offended by it is because its drama involves 9/11 and uses its events to emote its audience. And of course while they have a point about this, I didn't feel at all as if it was using it in a cheap or gimmicky way, to easily get emotions from its audience. The only one thing I will complain about was that it kept referencing a bit too much at it at times. Really, one mention of it could had sufficed but the movie instead kept using some flashbacks at times, which were still powerful but it got done 2 or 3 times too many in my opinion. Besides, there were times I even got confused by it and didn't always intermediately noticed that it was a flashback I was watching.
I was absolutely loving all of the characters in this movie and also really liked it that the movie had the guts to portray a little kid as a little kid for a change and not one with some fake emotions, feelings and thoughts. Everybody was a kid once, some much longer ago than others but I do believe everybody should be able to identify in one way or another with its main character, played by the young Thomas Horn, who made his acting debut with this movie. But the same more or less goes for all of the other characters as well, who got very well written and got played by some well known and great actors. This movie probably features both Tom Hanks' and Sandra Bullock's best performance of the past years and Max von Sydow, who never says a word in this movie, even got nominated for an Oscar for his role in this movie.
Really, this is one of the best 2011 movies I have seen and it also definitely ranks among my favorite ones as well.
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