314. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Movie: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Release Date: December 25, 2011

Director: Stephen Daldry

Starring: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn, Max von Sydow, Viola Davis, John Goodman, Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Caldwell.

Tag Lines: “Extremely Sweet & Incredibly Heartwarming.”

Relevance: In 2005, a novel called “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer was released and after reading about it, added it to my “must read” list. Six years later, in 2011 when the movie was released, I still had not read the book. I then fell into the discussion I often have with myself. Do I read the book and then see the movie, or wait on the movie and read the book? My answer is random and depends on the circumstances. In this instance, I chose to see the movie first.

Why did I choose to see the movie first? Two Reasons. One, I am a fan of the director, Stephen Daldry, who will be showing up again on my list later this year. Two, Tom Hanks. If someone asks me who my favorite actor is I always say Jimmy Stewart. Mr. Stewart was a wonderful actor and has played so many iconic roles and has been in quite a few of my favorite movies. In fact, three of his films are on this list. Tom Hanks is always my number two. I say number two, but just get a load of these facts. This is the first of fourteen movies starring Tom Hanks that I will be watching this year. Also, Mr. Hanks has the honor of being the actor with the most movies on the list overall. I am sure he is very humbled. His award is in the mail.

I went to see ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ its opening weekend and absolutely loved it. However, I was quite alone in my praise. It did not get that much critical love as the reviews of the film were mostly negative. It did get two Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture but the general consensus for it was not good. Too emotional? Too soon after the 9/11 attacks? I get that this was not an easy film to watch, but I was (and still am) confused by the critiques. But as I often say, art is subjective. I thought the film was brilliant and considering it is only nine years old, I have a feeling it could move leaps and bounds to a higher position on my list of most influential movies.

Today’s Thoughts: Cue the Kleenex boxes.

To say that I cried today watching this movie is an understatement. I actually wept uncontrollably like I did the first time I watched it. Thankfully this time I was not in a crowded movie theater, because we are talking “extremely loud and incredibly ugly” cry. I couldn’t help it. It is such an emotional story and it pulls at my heartstrings numerous times throughout its over two hour run.

The cast is absolutely wonderful. Tom Hanks, of course, but everyone from Sandra Bullock and Viola Davis to John Goodman and Jeffrey Wright, are superb. Thomas Horn in his first movie ever and Max von Sydow are probably my favorites in the film though. Their performances are so beautiful, especially Mr. von Sydow who does not utter one single word in the movie. You know that you are a great actor when you get nominated for an Academy Award without having any dialogue.

I urge anyone who has not seen this movie and isn’t afraid of emotional dramas to check out ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.’ Now that I have watched it again today I need to finally read the novel which is sadly still on my “must read” list.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year (nomination), Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Max von Sydow (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Actor/Actress, Thomas Horn (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director, Stephen Daldry (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Eric Roth (nomination).

Ways to Watch: Vudu, iTunes, DVD Availability.

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