Saturday, January 21, 2012
I read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer in January of 2011 and fell in love with it. I mentioned in my review that I was a little heartbroken about it being a movie because I just didn't think it could possibly compare to the experience of reading the book. Jason recently read (and loved) this as well, so we headed out to the movies last night to see it. To sum it up real quickly, this tells the story of a young boy, Oskar Schell, who struggles to cope in the aftermath of his father's death on September 11th. He finds a key in his father's closet and goes on a quest through all of New York City to find what the key is for. He does this in an attempt to find purpose, make sense of his father's death, and keep his father alive and with him in his mind and heart.
Right away it was evident that the film also used some techniques to portray some of the uniqueness of the book. It wasn't all the same, of course, but it was interesting how they did it. I'm not one of those people who ever notices (or cares for when I do notice) different filming techniques, but I did notice them in this movie and thought they were subtle enough and well done. Based on the reactions I heard from the other people watching throughout the movie, they invested in the characters and laughed at the parts that were funny. I didn't fall out sobbing like I thought I might (LOL), but there were definitely moments that made me cry.
One of the things I loved about the book was the raw emotion it evoked. I actually thought the movie did a great job of showing the intensity and complexity of Oskar's emotions as well as the difficulties in the relationship between him and his mother. But I might feel that way since I have more knowledge from reading the book. Jason said he read some reviews that talked about Oskar's character being a brat, and I think thought process misses the whole point of the complete anguish the child goes through after his father's death. The movie moves mostly chronologically but there are many moments when it goes back and shows a chronologically previous scene to explain something the character is thinking or referring to. There was one scene between Oskar and his mother, played by Sandra Bullock, that was pretty intense and evocative. That was probably the part that made me the most emotional because the relationship between the two of them is so fragile at a time when they really need each other. I do think this might be a difficult film to watch for people who did lose someone in the attacks on September 11th or for anyone who has lost a loved one recently.
The movie, of course, had to leave out some details and back story from the book. The book has sooo much more to love and I compel you to read it, especially if you're interested in the movie. But, I think the movie did a fantastic job at taking as many pieces of the book as possible and creating a way to get across the unique qualities of the book and the characters' emotions, and it followed the book very well. Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks, though secondary characters to Oskar, added a lot to the movie. I feel like I can still return the book and enjoy reading it again without being "interrupted" by things from the movie because it fit very well into what I pictured anyway.