Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Depicts September 11 from a New Perspective

By Isabelle T-L

I was only in the second grade when the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers occurred. I have a very vague memory of what happened on that day. Because we were children, I believe that many of us only recall snippets of September 11. I remember sitting on our classroom “reading rug” as my teacher tried to explain what had happened. Then, my memory shifts to sitting on an empty bus while I waited for the bus driver to take me home. Finally, I remember seeing my mother on the front steps of the porch.

As a young child, I only experienced a small fraction of what others were exposed to on the day of the terrorist attacks. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close captures the innocence that I believe many of us embodied on September 11. This is what makes this movie so remarkable.

The movie, adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 novel, is about a nine-year-old boy named Oskar Schell. A year after his father’s death, Oskar finds an envelope containing a key, which he believes will open a lock that will reconnect him with his father.

The word “Black” is written on the envelope. Determined to find the lock, Oskar attempts to visit every person with the last name “Black” who lives in New York City. As a young adult, I was skeptical. Did Oskar really believe that he could visit every single person in New York City with the last name “Black”? Yes, he does, and his certainty is inspiring.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close takes you back in time, letting you see a younger version of yourself through an adult’s eyes. It takes you back to September 11, but this time you are no longer a child.

In addition to providing an excellent perspective for those of us who were children during the attacks, the acting is also noteworthy. Tom Hanks plays the quirky, loveable dad and is as charming as ever. Saundra Bullock also gives a great performance as a grieving mother who is trying to pull through for her fatherless son.

But I was most impressed with newcomer Thomas Horn, who plays Oskar. Just a year ago, Thomas was an average eighth-grader with no previous acting experience. Thomas brought Oskar’s beautiful character to life despite the extreme challenge of the role.

Overall, if you don’t mind shedding a few tears, go see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close! You’ll see September 11 in a way that you’ve never seen it before.

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