See the review of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close below, then continue to scroll down the page to read some wonderful news about Bequer Eternal, a new book by our own
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close–A Review
By: Mary Fran Bontempo
Few images are as indelibly seared into the collective consciousness as that of thousands of pieces of paper fluttering from a piercing blue sky to the ground from the doomed World Trade Center buildings on that infamous day in 2001.
As young Oscar Schell stares above him, we view the incongruous sight with foreboding, knowing full well what follows.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the new film adapted from the brilliant novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, grabs hold of the viewer and drags her along on a wrenching, exhausting, funny, poignant and ultimately uplifting roller coaster ride from start to finish.
Nine-year-old Oscar, an odd, fearful yet highly intelligent boy, has lost his father, the one person in his life who not only made him feel safe, but playfully challenged him to confront his fears. Taking place a year after what Oscar refers to as “the worst day,” the movie follows the boy in his increasingly desperate efforts to remain close to his father by searching for the lock which fits a key he believes his father has left behind as a message to him.
Oscar’s journey takes the form of a treasure hunt through New York’s five boroughs, bringing him into contact with a multitude of strangers all dealing with their own forms of loss, grief and life. Believing that only his father understood him, Oscar struggles with his feelings for his mother, the parent left behind, alternately whispering his love for her and telling her to her face that he wishes it had been she who had perished. We also meet Oscar’s grandmother, along with her mysterious “Renter,” all harboring secrets and pain of their own.
Although it sometimes appears to take place in a sea of grief, E.L.&I.C. is ultimately redemptive, as Oscar forges connections with the world around him as well as what remains of his world at home.
With astounding performances, first by newcomer Thomas Horn as Oscar, then by Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock as Oscar’s parents and Max Von Sydow as “The Renter,” the movie transcends the expected, laying bare the raw emotion of a family, indeed a city, trying to heal.
A fairly faithful adaptation of the book, which was a challenging read, the film does some condensing–necessary given the sheer number of Oscar’s adventures. But like the book, it delivers a complex, compelling and finally life-affirming story of connection and love.
Do not miss this extraordinary movie, but bring your hankies.
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