Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a 2011 American drama film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer, directed by Stephen Daldry and written by Eric Roth. It stars Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow, Viola Davis, John Goodman, Jeffrey Wright, and Zoe Caldwell.
Production took place in New York City. The film had a limited release in the United States on December 25, 2011, and a wide release on January 20, 2012. Despite mixed to negative reviews, the film was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Max von Sydow.
The film begins with a body that seems to be falling from the sky, alluding to people who fell or jumped from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Nine-year-old Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) is introduced as the son of German American Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks) who died during the attack.
Oskar is incredibly smart, and his father knew that. He would often send him on missions to do something involving one of his riddles. The last riddle his father ever gives him is proof that New York City once possessed a Sixth Borough. In a flashback, Thomas and Oskar play a scavenger hunt to find objects throughout New York City. The game requires communication with other people and is not easy for the socially awkward Oskar: "if things were easy to find, they wouldn't be worth finding".
On September 11, Oskar and his classmates are sent home from school early while his mother Linda (Sandra Bullock) is at work. When Oskar gets home, he finds five messages from his father on the answering machine saying he is in the World Trade Center. When Thomas calls for the sixth time, Oskar hears the phone ringing but is too scared to answer. The machine records a sixth message, which stops when the building collapses, and Oskar knows his father has been killed, and he falls to the floor. He replaces the answering machine with a new one and hides the old one so his mother will never find out.
A few weeks after what Oskar calls "the worst day", he confides in his German grandmother and they become closer. Oskar's relationship with his mother worsens since she cannot explain why the World Trade Center was attacked and why his father died. Oskar tells his mother he wishes it had been her in the building, not his father, and she responds, "So do I". After, Oskar says he did not mean it, but his mother doesn't believe him.
A year later, Oskar finds a vase in his father's closet with a key in an envelope with the word "Black" on it. He vows to find what the key fits. He finds 472 Blacks in the New York phone book and plans to meet each of them to see if they knew his father. He first meets Abby Black (Viola Davis), who has recently divorced her husband. She tells Oskar she did not know his father.
One day, Oskar realizes that a strange man (Max Von Sydow) has moved in with his grandmother. Oskar stumbles upon the stranger, who does not talk because of the childhood trauma caused by his parents' death in World War II. He communicates with written notes and his hands with "yes" and "no" written on them. As they become friends and go together on the hunt to find what the key fits, Oskar learns to face his fears, such as those of public transport and bridges. Oskar concludes that the stranger is his grandfather. Oskar plays the answering machine messages for the stranger. Before playing the last message, the stranger cannot bear listening any longer, this message being his son's last words, and stops Oskar. Later on, the stranger moves out and tells Oskar not to search anymore.
When Oskar looks at a newspaper clipping his father gave him, he finds a circled phone number with a reference to an estate sale. He dials the number and reaches Abby, who wants to take Oskar to her ex-husband, William, who may know about the key. William (Jeffrey Wright) tells Oskar he has been looking for the key. William had sold the vase to Oskar's father who never knew the key was in the vase. The key fits a safe deposit box where William's father left something for him. Disappointed and distraught because the key does not belong to him, Oskar confesses to William that he did not pick up the phone during his father's sixth and final phone call and then goes home.
Oskar's mother tells Oskar she knew he was contacting the Blacks. She then informs him that she visited each Black in advance and informed them that Oskar was going to visit and why. Oskar makes a scrapbook of his scavenger hunt and all the people he met and titles it "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." At the end of the scrapbook there is an animation in which Thomas's body is falling up instead of down.
Oskar's grandfather returns to live with Oskar's grandmother.
- Thomas Horn as Oskar Schell
- Max von Sydow as Thomas Schell, Sr./The Renter
- Sandra Bullock as Linda Schell
- Viola Davis as Abby Black
- Tom Hanks as Thomas Schell
- John Goodman as Stan the Doorman
- Jeffrey Wright as William Black
- Zoe Caldwell as Oskar's grandmother
- Hazelle Goodman as Hazelle Black
|Sandra Bullock films|
Miss Congeniality (2000) · Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005) · Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) · Gravity (2013) · The Heat (2013) · Minions (2015) · Our Brand Is Crisis (2015) ·