‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


I keep want to referring to Stephen Daldry’s film of Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” as, instead, “ ..& Incredibly Cute.”

That’s unfair. It’s not even true; well, not completely.

Still, the performance by young “Jeopardy” champion Thomas Horn as the central character of this movie does feel like outtakes from a sit-com about an intelligent but socially maladroit youngster. He’s too smart for his own good but naive enough to say inappropriate things and not realize they’re funny. He may even have Asperger syndrome. Isn’t that adorable?

Oh, and his beloved father died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Isn’t that tragic?

“Precious” is the word that kept bobbing to the top of my consciousness as I watched “ELIC.” Too precious. While there is emotional weight to be lifted here, Daldry and writer Eric Roth remove any sense of heaviness by taking it too far in the opposite direction – or by leaning so hard on the big emotional moments that they can’t bear the weight.

Horn plays Oskar, a socially maladroit kid in New York whose father (Tom Hanks) creates mystery quests to draw Oskar out of his shell. But then his father dies in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 – and a year later, Oskar is still not over the shock.

Then he knocks over a vase in his father’s closet – and discovers a mysterious little key inside. Is this a clue in his father’s mystery quest for Oskar? Oskar thinks so and heads out to traverse the five boroughs by himself (even though he’s only 9) to find the lock to which the key goes.

This review continues on my website.

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