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I have read a LOT of reviews from people who seem to know absolutely nothing about children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Thomas Horn did an excellent job portraying one. He was very moving in everything he did! I know he did a great job because I have two children with the disorder and he fit perfectly between their two levels of autism. Does he have big beautiful eyes... sure. Don't knock the kid because he looks good. He was spot on with his acting! This story has you feeling all sorts of emotions and by the end of the movie we had all shed a lot of tears. And the tears were caused by what the child was doing to handle his grief and understand why his dad was taken away from him and NOT because it had anything to do with 9/11. My son had lost his mom and the movie brought back all sorts of emotions because he could relate to the child perfectly. This movie has replaced Billy Elliot on my list of most moving story. Not everyone can enjoy this kind of loving and sophisticated story so it might not be for everyone but if you have a heart and have ever lost a parent, I am sure that you will love this movie! Another moving story brought to us by Stephen Daldry!
At thirty minutes in I was wondering who would be the first to leave the small audience in the cinema. By the end of this movie I, and the few others, simply sat with our metaphorical mouths agape at the impact of what we had just seen. A slow, meandering, and with hindsight, entirely necessary beginning gives way to a riveting and gripping story. A story which you would expect to bring you to tears (and it will for some) but is ultimately about triumph. It may appear to be a story about 9/11 and such was the enormity of that event that it would be easy to suggest that this is just an excellently acted and well-crafted story about that day. That would be to undersell this movie. 9/11 is just the vehicle which carries the message of how our everyday, minor irritations with other people and our general lives are simply unimportant in comparison to the reality that most people are just trying to do their best in our jobs, our marriages and in our relationships. We are imperfect and the enormity of 9/11 hammered that home. These couple of hours repeats the exercise. But this movie does more than use the day's story in such a simplistic way. Rather, it weaves the tragedy into the story of lives that are already living with sadness and it allows those participants to view their personal tragedies in the context of the much bigger one. To use the "device" of a compulsive child (what a performance!)forces us voyeurs to focus more clearly on the everyday minutiae which both he and we come to see as insignificant. A wonderful experience...this movie will stay with me for the rest of my days.
I had the privilege of being invited to a screening today and was completely blown away by this movie! Forget the big name stars in this - except the extraordinary Viola Davis who is brilliant in whatever she does. This movie totally hinges on young Thomas Horn, whose performance took my breath away. Yes, I teared up at several moments, but the movie does not stoop to the over-wrought sentimentality that a movie like "War Horse" does. Instead, it takes you on an incredible journey and this young actor so embodies the lead, every emotion, every challenge. I think it really honors 9/11 in the same way that "Reign on Me" did. I am thankful I took the time out in the middle of a work day to go to the screening. I hope this movie does well because it sure made my day. Now I really want to read the book!
I personally loved this movie, and was shocked to see such negative reviews. I loved the fact that it centered around 9/11, as I think as painful and emotional as that was, we should NEVER forget it. I thought that the acting was superb and the scenery of NYC was wonderful. I loved the message and even though I was emotionally exhausted by the films end, I still felt good after seeing it. I give this film 10 stars and hope to see it receive many awards. I'll be owning it on DVD when its released. The acting by the whole cast, although the boy carried the movie almost single handily, was great, and this movie seriously touched my heart.
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.
This movie is a difficult one to review. At times during the film, you are thinking it's terrible, other times, it's touching, at others, inspiring. There is so much tragedy here and so much that is hopeful. I will say this, when the movie closed and the lights came up, I just sat there, thinking about things I'd seen, things I still wondered about, scenes that were perfect and those that weren't, questions that were answered and those not quite enough. Over all, I'd say I'm glad I watched this one. I can't say it's one I'm going to want to buy. It was interesting that of the four of us who went together to see this picture, all had different parts that affected us the most. For many of us, bringing ourselves to watch anything that had to do with 9/11 is still too painful to really be excited about. It's still too freshly seared into our minds. Maybe always will be. This one, at least, didn't slam the viewer over the head with too many visual details .there were as many as had to be, to present the movie. I think this is one you should see if only to decide for yourself what feelings you are left with. Excellent casting by the way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the story of a young boy who is
profoundly affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger's or
otherwise) who is trying to come to terms with his father's death in
the 9/11 disaster.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, finding it incredibly touching. As a parent of a child with an autism-spectrum disorder, I found the portrayal of Oskar, if very different from my own child, utterly believable.
Oskar's attempt to make sense of an event that in the end makes no sense was heart-wrenching, but for me, the movie's most effective aspects where not merely the Oskar's journey, but those brief glimpses of both his mother's grief and all of those he touches on that journey.
I think that a lot of people will find the protagonist difficult. Many attempts of those around him to comfort are utterly lost on him, and his inability to detect the emotional states in others along with his monomaniacal focus on attempting to process his father's death can make him profoundly unlikable for those not familiar with autism (or who don't care). Certainly, this is borne out in other reviews.
In the end, this film touched me more deeply than most I have seen this year - 9/10.
A fair warning before you step into this 9/11 drama based on the
acclaimed novel by Johnathan Safran Foer- the protagonist, a nine-year-
old boy living in New York City, isn't someone you'll embrace easily,
even though the fact that he had lost his father in the Twin Towers
should win much sympathy. Indeed, while we may accept a certain degree
of immaturity from the kid due to his age, it's appalling to hear him
say that his dad- whose body like the thousands who perished was never
found- might just be 'dog faeces' in Central Park, or that he wished it
was his mother who had lost her life instead.
Oskar Schell (played by newcomer Thomas Horn) is rather the abrasive kid who is both precocious and socially awkward- though test results on Asperger's syndrome turned out inconclusive. One year after that fateful day, Oskar steps inside his father's closet and finds a key inside an envelope with the name 'Black' scrawled on the front. Thinking that it might be one of his father, Thomas' (Tom Hanks), elaborate puzzles he used to concoct in order to force his son to interact with people, Oskar sets off on a personal quest to track down the source of the key.
Equipped with a backpack of essentials- including an Israeli gas mask, 'A Brief History of Time' by Stephen Hawkings, and a tambourine that he uses to calm himself amid the din and bustle of the city- Oskar traverses by foot through the five boroughs of New York knocking on the doors of everyone with the last name 'Black' he can locate in the phone book. Some of the people he meets include a married couple (Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright) on the verge of divorce, a religious woman who offers up Oskar's mission to God, and a transsexual with a lifestyle too wild for Oskar's comfort- it takes all sorts to make the world, and if each of these attempts turn out futile, it at least fulfils his father's hope that Oskar will learn to be more sociable.
Each encounter is also an affirmation of the collective tragedy that was 9/11, as Oskar's story moves those he meets to concern and compassion be they survivors or mourners. The unanimous display of empathy is poignant, reaffirming humanity's ability to unite behind grief and loss. But screenwriter Eric Roth makes this journey as much about the mutual heroism of New Yorkers trying to make sense and come to terms with the senselessness and devastation as it is about an individual family's struggle to recover from the very disaster.
Just as affecting therefore is the examination of the effect that Thomas' death has on the dynamics of the family- the mother Linda (Sandra Bullock) coping with her husband's passing while trying her best to win the understanding and love of her son; and the grandmother (Zoe Caldwell) thrust into an uneasy position as Oskar's confidant even as he rebuffs his mother. Oskar also forms a connection with a certain mysterious Renter (Max von Sydow) living in his grandmother's apartment, whose willingness to accompany Oskar on his trips belies a painful secret and a deeper personal motivation.
No stranger to heavy-handed dramas, director Stephen Daldry (his fourth feature after the critically acclaimed 'Billy Elliot', 'The Hours' and 'The Reader') handles the potentially histrionic proceedings with surprising deftness. Especially heartrending is Linda's predicament- a scene where she breaks down from hearing Oskar say the words 'I love you' just outside the main door after he leaves in a huff is particularly touching; while a plot twist late into the movie that shows the extent of a mother's love for her son will leave only the hardest of hearts unmoved. Bullock is uncharacteristically low-key but very effective in the role, her heartbreak keenly felt through her grimaces and tears.
Daldry also gets an excellent performance from von Sydow- with wordless shrugs and sighs, he effortlessly conveys his character's troubled past, one so traumatising that he has chosen to remain silent and relate to others with a simple 'yes' on one palm and 'no' on the other. And at the heart of it all is Thomas Horn's mesmerising turn, the 'Kids Jeopardy' winner utterly captivating as the bright but socially inept kid trying desperately to cling onto the one thing that he thinks will help him remain connected to his deceased father.
Appropriately then, the film has been nominated for Best Picture honours- though amongst the nine nominees this year, this is probably the lowest rated overall by critics. Many have criticised Daldry's mawkish sentimentality for undermining the material, but in truth, we thought there was much restraint and nuance in his method. In fact, Daldry deserves praise for preserving both the poignancy and pathos of his source novel, delicately portraying both the effect of 9/11 on a sensitive boy and his family as well as that of the larger community around him. True it takes some time to get to understand Oskar on his level, but the very fact that Daldry has retained the inherent eccentrics of his key character is the surest sign that this is not your typical maudlin 9/11 drama. It is stimulating to say the least, extremely tender and incredibly uplifting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have to say I've read quite a few bad reviews on here and I cant figure out why? Do you think Oskar's search was for nothing? Far from it! He helped another individual that was connected to his father in even a small way! That's a sort of Paying It Forward. But its not the story I want to review its the actor Thomas Horn who played Oskar Schell. Having experience in the industry myself and someone who studies actors for a living, I have to say Thomas has talent beyond his years. How he was able to sell to us on not only his character but everything he did, from his walk, from his physical acting with props and how he was able achieve all this as a 'rookie' is incredible! How he was able to keep it together through that extremely long monologue is beyond me. The movie was pretty much his playground and he just shined all the way through! If this was his first major role, I wonder how he auditioned in the first place? Most advanced or veteran actors couldn't pull it off let alone sell it and he SOLD IT! I hope this kid continues to share his talent and gets a lot of work in the near future. It wouldn't shock me if his mailbox is FULL of scripts, daily! Amazing! If I can be even 25% as good as that kid I will consider myself VERY lucky and talented. :)
This is a heart warming tear jerker of a child trying to make sense of such a tragic loss. An excellent performance from the young lead: good portrayal of a child on the autistic spectrum and emotional scenes handled brilliantly. The character is slightly irritating to begin with,although I believe this is intended. He grows on you as you begin to understand him better, and by the end you realise he is perfect for the story line. The mother and 'the renter' were also well cast I thought. Sandra Bullock's character was so different to anything I have seen her play before, but the performance was perfect. And Max Von Sydow did well to create a likable and intricate character without saying a word.
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