Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a 2011 American drama film directed by Stephen Daldry and written by Eric Roth. Based on the 2005 novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer, it stars Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn, Max von Sydow, Viola Davis, John Goodman, Jeffrey Wright, and Zoe Caldwell in her final film role. Production took place in New York City. The film had a limited release in the United States on December 25, 2011 by Warner Bros. Pictures, and a wide release on January 20, 2012. Despite mixed reviews, the film was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for von Sydow. The film earned $55.2 million. The film was released in Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download formats in Region 1 on March 27, 2012.


Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is autistic and lives in New York City with his parents Linda and Thomas Schell. He is close to his father, who stimulates him with missions to hunt for clues to New York City s lost Sixth Borough . The tasks he is given force him to explore his surroundings and communicate with other people, which is not easy for him.

On September 11, 2001, schools close early, and Oskar arrives home alone to find six answering machine messages left by his father from the World Trade Center. Oskar hides under his bed, where his grandmother finds him and stays until Linda returns home. Oskar is angry at his father s funeral, unable to make sense of his death.

A year later, Oskar has a secret hiding place with memories of his father, including the answering machine and its messages. In his father s room, he accidentally shatters a vase, and inside finds a key in an envelope with the word Black on it. He becomes obsessed with finding the lock the key fits, believing it a clue from his father. He finds 472 Blacks in the New York phone book and plans to visit each one. He lies to his mother, with whom he is becoming increasingly distant, about his outings. He first meets Abby Black, who is in the process of divorcing her husband, but she tells Oskar she did not know his father. Further encounters are fruitless, but he meets a variety of people, photographing and recording notes on each one in a scrapbook.

One day, Oskar ventures into his grandmother s apartment, but instead of finding her there, encounters the reclusive elderly renter that has been living there, whom his grandmother had warned him to avoid. The renter does not talk, communicating instead with the words yes and no tattooed on his hands and a writing pad. Oskar confides in him, and the man offers to accompany Oskar on his outings. As they explore the city together, Oskar learns to face his fears, such as those of public transport and bridges. Eventually, Oskar concludes that the stranger is his grandfather and plays the increasingly desperate answering machine recordings, but the man becomes agitated, refuses to listen to the final one, and tells Oskar to stop his search. Later, Oskar sees him arguing with his grandmother and packing to leave, and angrily confronts him as his taxi pulls away.

Oskar then notices a phone number for an estate sale circled on the back of a newspaper clipping of his father s. He dials the number and reaches a surprised Abby, who takes Oskar to meet her ex-husband William. William realizes Oskar s key is the one he has been looking for, left to him by his own deceased father in the vase, unbeknownst to him when he sold it to Thomas at the estate sale. Oskar confides that on the day of the attacks, he was home when the phone rang a sixth time, but was too afraid to answer. After witnessing the tower collapse on TV as the phone call cut off, he replaced the answering machine so his mother would never find out. He leaves the key with William, but runs away from Abby, distraught.

Back in his room, he proceeds to destroy the material from his search, until his mother reveals to him that she had been aware of all his outings, and had gone ahead of him to meet all the Blacks to prepare them for his visit. Finally realizing how much his mother cares about him, he accepts his father s death and writes letters to all the people he met to thank them for their kindness, including his grandfather, who returns to live with his grandmother. He gives his mother his scrapbook from his adventures filled with pop-ups and pull tabs, titled Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close .

Soon after, Oskar visits a spot in Central Park he and his father frequented, and looking underneath his father s favorite swing, finds a message from his father, congratulating him for finishing what would have been their final expedition, giving Oskar the closure he desperately needed.


  • Thomas Horn as Oskar Schell
  • Max von Sydow as The Renter
  • Sandra Bullock as Linda Schell
  • Tom Hanks as Thomas Schell
  • Viola Davis as Abby Black
  • Madison Arnold as Alan Black
  • John Goodman as Stan the Doorman
  • Jeffrey Wright as William Black
  • Zoe Caldwell as Oskar s grandmother
  • Hazelle Goodman as Hazelle Black
  • Adrian Martinez as Hector Black
  • Stephen Henderson as Walt the Locksmith
  • Stephanie Kurtzuba as Elaine Black



In August 2010, it was reported that director Stephen Daldry and producer Scott Rudin had been working on a film adaptation of the novel for five years. Eric Roth was hired to write the script. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a co-production with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros., with Warner being the lead studio . Chris Menges served as director of photography, K. K. Barrett as production designer and Ann Roth as costume designer.


Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock were the first to be cast in the film. A nationwide search for child actors between the ages of 9 and 13 began in late October 2010 for the role of Oskar Schell. Thomas Horn, who had won over $30,000 at age 12 on the 2010 Jeopardy! Kids Week, was chosen for the role in December 2010. Horn had had no prior acting interest but was approached by the producers based on his quiz-show appearance. On January 3, 2011 The Hollywood Reporter announced that John Goodman joined the cast. Nico Muhly was credited in the film poster as the composer, but on October 21, 2011 it was reported that Alexandre Desplat was chosen to compose the score. Similarly, James Gandolfini was credited on the initial poster, and was originally in the film as a love interest for Bullock s character. Test audiences reacted negatively to their scenes together, and he was cut. Austrian actress Senta Berger was offered a role in the film, but declined.


Daldry stated in an interview that the film is about a special child who is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, trying to find his own logic – trying to make sense of something that literally doesn’t make sense to him. When asked how much research was necessary to realistically portray a character with such a condition, he answered we did a lot of research, and that he spent a lot of time with different experts of Asperger’s and talked to them. In the film, Oskar reveals that he was tested for Asperger syndrome, but the results were inconclusive. As Daldry explained: Every child is different on the autistic spectrum, so we created our own version of a child that was in some way – not heavily, but somewhere on that spectrum in terms of the fears and the phobias. There are no references to autism in the novel. Author Jonathan Safran Foer stated in an interview that he had never thought of Oskar as autistic, but added, Which is not to say he isn t – it s really up for readers to decide. It s not to say that plenty of descriptions of him wouldn t be fitting, only that I didn t have them in mind at the time.


Principal photography was expected to begin in January, but started in March 2011. Filming went on hiatus in June. On May 16, 2011, scenes were shot on the streets of the Lower East Side and Chinatown. Cranes were used to shoot scenes on the corner of Orchard Street and Grand Street. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was filmed with an Arri Alexa and was the first Hollywood feature film to use Arri s ArriRaw format to store the data for post-production. Several scenes for the film were shot in Central Park, a location that is integral to the storyline, near The Lake and Wollman Rink. The Seaport Jewelry Exchange on Fulton St. was used for a pivotal scene in the film when the son is searching through a jewelry store and its back room.


Daldry had hoped to have the film released around the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A test screening took place in New York on September 25, 2011 to a positive reaction. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close had a limited release in the United States on December 25, 2011, and a wide release on January 20, 2012. It was released in the United Kingdom on February 17, 2012.

Home media release

The film was released in Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download formats in Region 1 on March 27, 2012.


Critical response

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 45% approval rating and an average rating of 5.60/10 based on 190 reviews. The website s consensus reads, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close has a story worth telling, but it deserves better than the treacly and pretentious treatment director Stephen Daldry gives it. Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 46 based on 41 reviews.

Critics were sharply divided about the subject matter of the film. Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film was a handsomely polished, thoughtfully wrapped Hollywood production about the national tragedy of 9/11 that seems to have forever redefined words like unthinkable, unforgivable, catastrophic . Andrea Peyser of the New York Post called it Extremely, incredibly exploitive and a quest for emotional blackmail, cheap thrills and a naked ploy for an Oscar. Peter Howell of the Toronto Star gave the film one out of four stars saying that film feels all wrong on every level, mistaking precociousness for perceptiveness and catastrophe for a cuddling session. It s calculated as Oscar bait, but the bait is poisoned by opportunism and feigned sensitivity .


Award Category Nominee Result
84th Academy Awards Best Picture Scott Rudin Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Max von Sydow Nominated
Boston Film Critics Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Art Directors Guild Best Art Direction in a Contemporary Film K.K. Barrett Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture Nominated
Best Director Stephen Daldry Nominated
Best Young Actor/Actress Thomas Horn Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Eric Roth Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Picture Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Max von Sydow Nominated
Georgia Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Sandra Bullock Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Best Picture Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Original Score Alexandre Desplat Nominated
Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role – Male Thomas Horn Won
Breakthrough Performance on Camera Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actor Max von Sydow Nominated
Best Score Alexandre Desplat Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress – Drama Sandra Bullock Nominated

Best picture nomination controversy

Before the film s release, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was expected to be a major contender at the 84th Academy Awards (Stephen Daldry s previous two films had garnered Best Picture nominations). However, due to the film s polarizing reception and being ignored by most of the critics groups awards; namely, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, it was no longer deemed a major contender. Nevertheless, the film was nominated for Best Picture and Max von Sydow for Best Supporting Actor. Critics and audiences criticized the film s nomination for Best Picture, with some calling the film one of the worst Best Picture nominees ever. Chris Krapek of The Huffington Post wrote very negatively about the film s nomination, calling the film not only the worst reviewed Best Picture nominee of the last 10 years, easily the worst film of 2011 . Paste Magazine s Adam Vitcavage called the film s consensus for a Best Picture nominee certainly the worst for at least 28 years , and David Gritten of The Telegraph calls the nomination mysterious .

Many critics have blamed the new Best Picture rules for the nomination. John Young at Entertainment Weekly says that when it comes to the new rules, it s better to be loved by a small and passionate group instead of liked by a much larger group , and Jen Chaney at The Washington Post, believes that, the Academy should ve just stuck to the 10 rule so that films like Dragon Tattoo or Harry Potter could ve joined the other worthy contenders, because if you’re going to create a bunch of drama around the number of nominees and then come up one shy of what has become the typical total, that just feels like a letdown. The Week writes that the new rules are a failure, as it lets smaller, divisive movies that the Academy had hoped to weed out, like Tree of Life and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in, but prevents critically-praised crowd pleasers like Bridesmaids and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo from being nominated.

Opposingly, awards pundit Tom O Neil defended the nomination and the film, stating: This is a movie that we unwisely wrote off, but we did it because we believed the critics. This movie delivers. It is a superb motion picture. It is moving, it is relevant to our time, it is extremely well made.

At the 84th Academy Awards, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close lost in both of its categories (Best Picture to The Artist and Best Supporting Actor to Christopher Plummer for Beginners).


Title Songwriter, song performer and music composer
If You Know The Lord Is Keeping You Charles Taylor
Cleo s Back Little Freddie King and Willie J. Woods
All Music Alexandre Desplat

Year 2011
ReleaseDate 2012-01-20
RuntimeMins 129
RuntimeStr 2h 9min
Plot A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Awards Nominated for 2 Oscars, 8 wins & 26 nominations total
Directors Stephen Daldry
Writers Eric Roth, Jonathan Safran Foer
Stars Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock
Produced by Eli Bush,Celia D. Costas,Lynn Harris,Tarik Karam,Mark Roybal,Scott Rudin,Nora Skinner,Marieke Spencer,Jayne-Ann Tenggren
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography by Chris Menges
Film Editing by Claire Simpson
Casting By Ellen Lewis,Mele Nagler
Production Design by K.K. Barrett
Art Direction by Peter Rogness
Set Decoration by George DeTitta Jr.
Costume Design by Ann Roth
Makeup Department Gary Archer,Chris Clark,Marjorie Durand,Louise McCarthy,Jerry Popolis,Ivana Primorac,Janine Thompson,Pamela S. Westmore,Erika Abberton,Diane Dixon,Linda Kaufman,Natasha Ladek,Joanna McCarthy
Production Management Deb Dyer,Claire Kirk,Jennifer Lane,Kate McCaslin,Kelley Smith-Wait,Afnahn Khan
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Scott Bowers,Catherine Feeny,Tarik Karam,Amy Lauritsen,Travis Rehwaldt,Jamie Sheridan,Richard Styles,Christopher Swartout
Art Department Derrick Alford,Tommy Allen,I. Javier Ameijeiras,Michael Auszura,Kevin Brink,Lauren Buckley,D. Keith Cleary,Mark Cox,Dan DeTitta,Gerald DeTitta,Lauren DeTitta,Matthew DeTitta,Nicholas DeTitta,Christopher Doogan,Ann Edgeworth,Adam Goodnoff-Cernese,Jay Hendrickx,James Hoff,Gay A. Howard,Teddy Janicki,Timothy Joliat,Derrick Kardos,Erika S. Katz,Clifford Klatt,Hugh Landwehr,Joanna Leavens,Emmett J. Lundberg,Richard Nelson,Sean O’Connell,Tobin Ost,Jaime Reyes,Brien Sauchelli,Jolie Scherberger,Daniel Sheppard,Edward Smith,Joel Weaver,Wendy Brown,Mary Citarella,Jeffrey Czaja,Miguel De Jesus,Paul George Divone,Michael T. Galvin,Judy Gurr,Samantha Higgins,George Kousoulides,Todd Lichtenstein,Todd MacNicholl,John Mazzoni,Susan Pitocchi,Bobby Roelofs,Kathrine Rondeau,Dylan Jude Sheridan,Richard A. Sirico,Ioannis Zaptis,Chris Zizzo
Sound Department Michael Barosky,Krissopher Chevannes,Marko A. Costanzo,Robert Fernandez,Dave Flynch,Brian Gallagher,Dror Gescheit,Heather Gross,Bobby Johanson,Gregg Landaker,George A. Lara,Blake Leyh,Skip Lievsay,Tony Martinez,Danny Michael,Matthias Neumann,Igor Nikolic,Jason Oliver,Eliza Paley,Michael Rivera,Jac Rubenstein,Kira Smith,Julian Townsend,Paul Urmson,Paul Yurt,Lawrence Zipf,Matthew Zipkin,Dann Fink,Daniel McIntosh,Michael Miller,Linda Murphy,Bruce Pross,Larry Provost,Peter Schneider,Paul Tirone,Angie Yesson
Special Effects by Mark Hawker,Steven Kirshoff,Roy Savoy,Ken Goodstein,Devin Ladd,John Stifanich
Visual Effects by Jeff Allen,Cynthia Angel,John Bair,Renuka Ballal,Vivian Connolly,Matt Dessero,Mitchell Ferm,Marci Ichimura,Tram Le-Jones,Jaemin Lee,Kevin Scott Mack,Vance Miller,Steve Morris,Jared Pollack,Aaron Raff,Heather Saunders,Glenn Allen,Matt Anderson,Sean Araki,Igor Boshoer,Cara Buckley,Craig Crawford,Robert Nicholas Dauphinais,Eran Dinur,Aleksandar Djordjevic,Brendan Fitzgerald,Richard Friedlander,Wendy Garfinkle,Matthew Hackett,Robert Henry,Yoshiko Hirata,Tara Marie Jacobson,Alice Kahn,Ryan Leonard,Justin Maynard,Alejandro Monzon,Eddie Offermann,David Piombino,Jonathan Podwil,Eddie Porter,Kevin Quinlan,Greg Radcliffe,Chris B. Schnitzer,Adam Schwartz,Tomoko Shin,Dan Short,Christina Sidoti,Jesse Spielman,David Toepfer,Laszlo L. Ujvari,Tim Van Horn,Scott Winston,Tom Zils
Stunts Scott Burik,Chris Cenatiempo,John Cenatiempo,Victor Chan,Blaise Corrigan,Wade Eastwood,Jeffrey Lee Gibson,Don Hewitt,Jason Northgard,Thomas Place,Stephen A. Pope,Keith Siglinger,Daniel Stevens,Jake Swallow,Adam Wood,Chris Barnes,Randy Beckman,Arturo Dickey,Daniel Stevens,Jake Swallow
Camera and Electrical Department Julian Bass,Hilary Benas,Maceo Bishop,Peter Bulavinetz,Sasha Burdett,Patrick Capone,David M. Carr,Daniel Casey,Elizabeth Cassinelli,Andrew Cavagnet,Alisa M. Colley,Jason Cortazzo,François Duhamel,Kevin Flynn,Casey Ford,Richie Ford,Joseph Grimaldi,Andy Harris,Joel Holland,Matt Howard,Chris Kilduff,Scott Kincaid,John Krause,Jody Lee Lipes,David Lee,Abby Levine,Rob Mabin,Brendon Malone,Chris Menges,John J. Moers,Richard Nagle,Bill O’Leary,Michael J. Prate,Tom Prate,K.C. Roballo,Gregor Tavenner,Joseph Trammell,Rebecca Venezia,Robert Vuolo,Aurelia Winborn,Sebastián Almeida,Cesar Baptista,Thomas Calandrillo,Michael Cambria,Mariusz Cichon,Don Cornett,Eric Dvorsky,Marialuisa Ernst,Bob Gambardella,Keith Gordon,Elizabeth Hedges,Ryan Heide,Jeremy Knaster,Gabriel Kolodny,Eric Lichtenstein,Clint Litton,Michael J. Maurer,Kevin Meegan,Joe Mellon,Jeff Muhlstock,Xavier Munoz,John Nijhawan,Steven R. Paquette,Phil Pastuhov,Stuart Rogers,Michael Rudolph,Darren Ryan,Pierson Silver,Robert Stevers,Bob Van Heek,Daniel Wallenstein
Casting Department Matthew Maisto,Meghan Rafferty,Christina Shea-Wright,Veronika Lee Claghorn,Jamie Jacobson,Nicah Lowry Nossaman,Jennifer Sabel,Grant Wilfley,Bruce Winant
Costume and Wardrobe Department Jason Adam V,Megan Asbee,Susan Bakula,Jonathan Clay,Lucy Cobbs,David Davenport,Kevin Draves,Colleen Ehrlich,Kortney Lawlor,Fionnuala M. Lynch,Michelle Matland,Jonathan Schwartz,Martha Smith,Natalie Abreu,Scott T. Coppock,Malik Summers
Editorial Department Leslie Bautsch,Leslie Blevins,Brian Boyd,Pete Conlin,Melinda Garrett,Jonathan Hoffman,Kevin Krout,Victoria Lang,James LeSage,Jack Lewars,Paloma Mele,Nick Monton,Jim Passon,Jay Rabinowitz,David A. Smith,Stefan Sonnenfeld,Jay Tilin,Susan Bliss,Matt Breitenbach,Marika D. Litz,Clare McKee,Daniel Paress,Chad Schermerhorn,Seth Weinman
Location Management Chris Cloud,Kat Donahue,Steve Faughnan,Joe Guest,Matthew Kania,Mike Trainor,Louis Zuppardi,Mara Alcaly,Malcolm Alston,Victoria Carter,Jesse Davidson,Christopher LeStrange,Robert Noonan,Eric Papa,Phuong-Thuy Pham,Julian Ruhe,Rufus Wyer
Music Department Jean-Pascal Beintus,Tom Brown,Nicolas Charron,Peter Cobbin,Alexandre Desplat,Matt Franko,Mark Graham,Jim Hoffman,Joel Iwataki,Ryan Kelly,Dominique Lemonnier,Gerard McCann,Katherine Gordon Miller,Lewis Morison,Sylvain Morizet,Seda Ozen,Eric Pfeifer,Nic Ratner,Naomi Sato,Chad E. Smith,Jean-Yves Thibaudet,Kirsty Whalley,Philip James Katrandjian,Victor Pesavento,Tim Starnes,Sheldon Yellowhair
Script and Continuity Department Rachel Connors,Joyce Heftel,Diane Hounsell,Jayne-Ann Tenggren,Andrew Cesana,Andrew D. Cooke,Andrea Greer
Transportation Department David Conelli,James Fanning,John Hicks,Bryan Place,Frank Beggins,Bill Curry Jr.,Sean Heilig,Tom Heilig,Damian Holton,John Bernard Martin,Michael Murphy,Edward Paustian,Francis Whalen
Additional Crew Dionne Audain,Maggie Biggar,David E. Bisson,Catherine Brelet,Steven Cardwell,Jacquelyn Carr,Marlo Carroll,Janelle Coleman,William Conacher,Theo Cusick,Kyle Davis,Sam Day,Allison Diamond,Bryant Donohue,Jen Dougherty,Katie Ennis,Kathleen Fellegara,Rich Fellegara,Paul Hamill,Rob Harris,Jessica Held,Charles Howard II,Lamont Jackson,Samson Jacobson,Geoffrey Jean-Baptiste,Spencer Jezewski,Louis Katz,Sherry Kecskes,Kaelan Kelly-Sordelet,David Kennedy,Gayoung Kim,Tony Kost,Alex Libby,Ginger Marley,Timothy Martin,Ellen Martinez,Kate McCaslin,Kelly McKee,Peter McManus,B.T. McNicholl,Joshua Mehr,Gabriel Meyers,Mike Miller,Sara Neuffer,Elizabeth Neveu,Leda Nornang,Victoria Northridge,Nick Notte,Timothy O’Malley,Rachel Parriot,Jim Pellegrinelli,Roberto Perez Antolin,Constance Pierce-Winters,Abdul Rashid,Bill Richards,Deborah Ricketts,Dan Sarrow,Delaney Schenker,Kelsey Schuyler,Scott Sullens,Lygia Day Szelwach,Laura Taylor,Mike Trainor,Cedric Brelet von Sydow,Lisa Wiggins,Rasha Zamamiri,Jason Acevedo,Fajer Al-Kaisi,Giuseppe Ardizzone,Arusha Baker,Clayton Beisner,Adam Bennett,Jason Berg,Laura Lynn Berrios,Nina Boesch,George Brassey,Nathan Buffaloe,Yara Caubet,Giovanni Clark,J. John Corbett,George Daratany,Pete Donohue,Nicole Evranian,Stephen Feder,Ed Gately,Jodi Innerfield,Ben Katz,Erin Kennedy,Andrew Sung Min Kim,Tony Kost,Brendan C. Lynch,Francesco Marchione,Peter Marschark,Kenton McKinley,James McKnight,Lauren Mizenko,Steven M. Morales,Jesse Newman,Michael Perilstein,Jonathan Podwil,Darryl Prevost,Mike Reiersen,Joe Russo,Mindy Silberman,Marcus Slabine,Scott Sousa,Christian Vogeler,Zach Warsavage,Peter Weireter,Sally Winters,Dared Wright,Ernie Zahn
Genres Adventure, Drama, Mystery
Companies Warner Bros., Scott Rudin Productions, Paramount Pictures
Countries USA
Languages English
ContentRating PG-13
ImDbRating 6.9
ImDbRatingVotes 102146
MetacriticRating 46
Keywords asperger's syndrome,quest,revelation,2000s,key