Movie: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Nominations:Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor - Max von Sydow
Wins/Snubs: The movie is generally regarded as the one that squeaked into the Best Picture race. Personally, I think Max von Sydow has an outside chance of beating Christopher Plummer
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close might only have gotten a 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but on this one, I am firmly in the "Loved it" category. Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks) and his son Oscar (Thomas Horn) have a special relationship - they have adventures and Thomas tries really hard to create quests for his son that help him interact with people. Oscar's mom Linda (Sandra Bullock) loves her boys, but can't really get a handle on the quests. On "the worst day", Thomas is killed in the towers on 9/11. Oscar obviously has trouble learning to deal with this - from finding clues to possible quests his dad might have left to hurting himself to not feel pain. One day he breaks a vase and finds a key in an envelope with the name "Black" written on the back. Oscar decides his father must have sent this clue to his son, and Oscar decides to find all the Blacks in the phone book to try to solve the puzzle. He creates a map, and plans the route. Along the way he meets some terrific characters, some of whom embrace him and share his pain, others who send him away. One night he also gets to know The Renter (Max von Sydow), an old man staying with Oscar's grandmother. The Renter doesn't speak - he even has YES and NO written on his palms for communication. But Oscar finds him easy to communicate with - he tells The Renter his secrets, unburdening his young soul. They continuing look for the key's lock and the end of the quest to little success. But Oscar can't give up, and continues his journey to complete his father's journey, slowly revealing the secrets that have prevented him from moving on with his life after the loss of his father.
I loved this movie. It started out slowly, and the dialogue didn't start great, but around the 20 minute mark, you start getting drawn into his journey - you start to care what connection to his dad can be maintained after such a devastating loss. The way they portray a possible real-life story of 9/11 is both heartbreaking and uplifting. On a personal note - I was living in Kenya on 9/11/01 and we only had a satellite radio, which meant when the satellite set, we had nothing. So no TV, few magazines and because of that, I have consciously avoided ever seeing the video of the towers falling or the plans flying into them. After seeing this movie, I can't say that anymore, and it made me cry both for loss in the film, and for finally seeing what the world has seen. Yes, they do draw on your heartstrings. It's probably manipulative. But I don't think that it's done in a bad way - and it tells a story with a unique story that cannot be matched. I think it deserved it's nomination for Best Picture, and von Sydow definitely deserved his for Supporting Actor. I don't think Thomas Horn should supplant any of the current Best Actor nominees, but I think he did an amazing job for a young actor, carrying a huge load on his back. 5 of 5 star/lambs
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