EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE is based on a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.
It deals with a very challenging subject--the grief of the ten year old son of a man who was killed on 9/11.
While much of the film rings true to the painful psychology of grief and loss, some of it feels contrived, and the young boy himself is so precocious and self-centered that he's a bit hard to like.
"After he died, I found this key in my dad's closet," the boy says in voice over. "He must have wanted me to find something. What was it that Dad wanted me to find?"
First time actor and "Jeopardy" winner Thomas Horn plays Oskar Shell, the ten year old son. The key he finds was in a small envelope with the word "Black" on it, so Oskar decides to contact all 472 people in New York with the last name, Black.
One of those people is the great Viola Davis as Abby. Abby's in the midst of a marital crisis that Oskar doesn't seem to notice even though her husband just gone out the front door, and tears are streaming down her face.
Oskar: "Are you sure you didn't know him, Thomas Schell? He was in the building...9/11.
Abby: I'm sorry I don't know anything about the key or your father."
In flashbacks, we see a few scenes of Tom Hanks as Oskar's loving father, but it's a small role.
Oskar's grieving mother is played by Sandra Bullock. Her role if fairly small as well.
Another wonderful actor, Max Von Sydow, plays a mute elderly man who rents a room from Oskar's grandmother.
"Do you ever try to talk?" Oskar badgers him. "Why don't you try to say something to me? My name is...."
Some of EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE got to me. Maybe, more of it will get to you.
In any case, the movie is definitely worth seeing, but overall, it's just not strong enough to deserve an Oscar nomination.