One day, about a year and a half ago, I came home from work to find my mum at the door, red eyed and turtleneck stained three shades darker with tears. I immediately hugged her, thinking something terrible had happened, and asked her what was wrong.
‘I’m watching a really good film!’ she choked out. The next day, I made us both cups of tea and we sat down to watch it together, my first time and her second. This was the start of my relationship with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Usually I hate seeing the movie before reading the book, and have abstained from watching many a film because I haven’t read the book yet (namely, Perks of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas – both of which I have now read and seen), but after seeing my mum’s reaction I simply couldn’t wait to watch this film. It really didn’t disappoint.
The little boy who plays Oskar (Thomas Horn) is either exceptionally talented or extremely well cast. He manages to capture so much emotion with such a young face, and is totally heart breaking. Tom Hanks as the dad is wonderful, even though for most of the film he is only a voice – what a voice. Sandra Bullock reminds us that she is more than a romcom actor. The whole film is done very very well. I really recommend seeing it.
I’ve recently had to read the book for my course, and although I didn’t happy/sad cry throughout the whole thing I did well up on a number of occasions. It is just as spectacular as the film, or should I be saying that the film captures the wonder of the book. The language is beautiful, dripping with emotion. The transition of voice between Oskar, Grandma and the silent man is excellently done – they each have such a specific voice which is so unique to them – and it was lovely to hear more backstory for these characters (I can’t remember getting that in the film). The way the text lays on the page, interspersed with images in some cases, is stunning. It is a very visual read for something which is so deeply preoccupied with sound and vocalised words.
I don’t want to say too much more as I really don’t want to spoil it, but please, please read the book, see the film. It doesn’t matter which order you do it in, just do it. I don’t want to say anything more as I really don’t want to spoil it, but here is the synopsis on the back of the book:
‘In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died in 9/11, nine-year-old Oskar discovers a key…
The key belonged to his father, he’s sure of that. But which of New York’s 162 million locks does it open?
So begins a quest that takes Oskar – inventor, letterwriter, and amateur detective – across New York’s five boroughs and into the jumbled lives of friends, relatives and complete strangers. He gets heavy boots, he gives himself little bruises and he inches ever nearer to the heart of a family mystery that stretches back fifty years. But will I take him and closer to, or even further from, his lost father?’