X is for eXtremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Blogging from A-Z

Extremely loud and incredibly close film poster.jpgThis movie was so emotional and it broke my heart more than once.  Oskar Schell, a boy who has problems dealing with other people, loses his father in the attacks of 9/11.  Through a series of flashbacks we see the close relationship he had with his father and how his father worked hard to get Oskar to overcome his discomfort with strangers by planning a series of scavenger hunts around New York City.  After 9/11 his relationship with his mother deteriorates but he does become closer to his grandmother who lives across the street.  On the one year anniversary , Oskar finds a key and the name Black marked on an envelope in his Dad’s untouched closet.  So begins his quest to find the Black that can help him find what the key opens.

When I saw all of the reviews for this book and movie I thought that it would be too emotionally heart wrenching for me and I was right.  I knew Jason would like it, so we watched it over a few nights and we were blown away by the story and the actor who played Oskar.  Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock were great in their roles, but Oskar was the movie.  This was Thomas Horn’s first acting role and I am surprised that he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar.

The critic’s didn’t like this one very much although it did get nomitated for a Best Picture Oscar.  It makes an obvious attempt to play on your emotions, at times I found it hard to watch Oskar, but I think it is successful. Some movies that try to manipulate your emotions aren’t as smart or have the edge this one has.  It is a drama wrapped in tears and achievement.  When Oskar finally finds the Black who could help him I was devastated for him.

Since this is Autism Awareness Month I should note that Jason and I both thought Oskar had Asperger’s, a condition on the autism spectrum, so I did a little digging after the movie.  The author of the book, Jonathan Safran Foer, says that he did not think of Oskar that way when writing the book.  The director of the film, Stephen Daldry, says Oskar is “a special child who is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, trying to find his own logic – trying to make sense of something that literally doesn’t make sense to him.”  So I do wonder what those of you who read the book and saw the movie thought. Did you think Oskar was portrayed differently in both?  I am sure now that I’ve seen the movie that I am not going to read the book and I want to know what you think.