“Put Some Bose Headphones On And Walk Away”
“A Superb Blend Of Tears And Comedy”
Here's a tale that compacts the grief of an entire world, country, city, and thousands of loved ones left behind into the pain of one vulnerable, fictional boy.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
- New York Times
Yes, you may cry, but when tears are milked as they are here, the truer response should be rage.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
[An] intensely self-conscious movie that contrives to make the human cost and human meaning of 9/11 distant and faint.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
While flawed and sometimes overwrought, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close's tale of the effect of 9/11 on a sensitive boy is worth seeing, particularly for its lead performance.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Stephen Daldry's extremely labored and incredibly crass adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
The movie forgoes Foer's ambitious tweeness and presents Oskar's outbursts and moodiness - that precociousness - as a disorder.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
The deluge of tears is Daldry's idea of pathos, but to these eyes, it's Oscar-trolling 9/11 kitsch.
Nick Pinkerton - Village Voice
While aiming to explore the riddle of grief, this particular story fails by listening to strange angels.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
The production's penchant for contrivance is insufferable -- not a single spontaneous moment from start to finish -- and the boy is so precocious you want to strangle him.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
The mysteries aren't that mysterious and some may have a hard time embracing its abrasive hero.
Roger Moore - Dallas Morning News
[It] gets far too cute.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
If imagining a city where people open their doors (or don't) to a boy with a key and a ton of questions is sentimental ... then it is vitally, beautifully so.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
What makes Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close good is its sense of goodness.
James Rocchi - MSN Movies
Homes in on a middle ground between jumpy postmodernism and Oscar-bait uplift.
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
Sorry, but there must be richer ways of dramatizing so obvious a theme.
David Denby - New Yorker
No movie has ever been able to provide a catharsis for the Holocaust, and I suspect none will ever be able to provide one for 9/11.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock ... Max von Sydow, Zoe Caldwell, Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright, John Goodman... thanks for your honest efforts in the service of a fundamentally dishonest weepie.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Inquirer
Not for moviegoers who hold that heartstring-plucking is a betrayal of the contract between director and audience.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Innocent Oskar and his isn't-life-wondrous adventures left me disappointed, depressed and somewhat irritated.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is the kind of movie you want to punch in the nose.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Luckily, Horn is so good -- as is Max von Sydow, in a wordless role -- that the film resonates in spite of the tear-jerking strings Daldry pulls.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Maybe if it had manipulated me less, it would have moved me more.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
It hardly matters that Horn manages to give such a naturalistic, unmannered performance as the young Oskar when everything around him has been so deliberately orchestrated to provoke a specific reaction.
Peter Debruge - Variety
It's Oscar-mongering of the most blunt and reprehensible sort.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close approaches what I would call "9/11 porn" in the way it exploits tragedy to milk emotion.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close's greatest strength is that it prods and provokes, never relenting.
Laremy Legel - Film.com
...the cure for Oskar's severe case of shell-shock, in Eric Roth's adaptation of the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, seems artificial and contrived to me.
Leonard Maltin - indieWIRE
Stephen Daldry's 'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close': Prescient Grief
Joe Baltake - Passionate Moviegoer
With one exception, the quest is lumbering at best, and precious the rest of the time.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
Renders Jonathan Safran Foer's best-selling 2005 novel into unconvincing Hollywood mush.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
An emotionally powerful cinematic testimony about that horrific late summer day.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
An emotionally potent, noticeably literary story of a precious boy's reaction to his father's death on 9/11.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
A cloying exercise in sentimentality, the film also winds up extremely annoying, even infuriating.
David Germain - Associated Press
Horn breaks through the movie's manipulative scrim simply through the sheer force of his emotions.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
Solidly crafted, impeccably acted and self-important in the way that Oscar loves, 'Extremely Loud' is also incredibly close to exploitation.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
It's a unique journey that's equal parts sympathy card and celebration of human resilience.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
A film filled with both sentiment and substance.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
An irritating 130-minute dripathon.
Andy Lea - Daily Star
This adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's 9/11 novel is long, shallow and unconcealed in its efforts to make you cry.
Tom Glasson - Concrete Playground
As Oskar opines about his father's casket: "It's just an empty box". The same charge the film's guilty of.
Erick Weber - NECN
Probably one of the most exploitative and heavy handed films concerning 9/11 I've ever seen.
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
It is the best of the 9 films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
Rhett Bartlett - Dial M For Movies
...there's nothing very special about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, other than the remarkable Max von Sydow and a preternaturally alert performance by young Thomas Horn
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
It may try too hard, and it borders on the implausible early and often, but the performance of newcomer Thomas Horn is relentlessly earnest and believable.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
...threatens to make the momentous trite.
Chris Barsanti - PopMatters
Roger Moore - McClatchy-Tribune News Service
When it was finally over, I found myself not just disappointed, but a little annoyed. Frankly, it seems more than a little like a cheat.
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
Es uno de esos raros ejemplos en que el original literario es visualmente mucho mas rico que su version cinematografica. Lo mejor es su protagonista, el increible Thomas Horn.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
Leonard Maltin - ReelzChannel.com
Richard Roeper - ReelzChannel.com
Despite indulgences it works well because there is a really nice message that lies at the heart of the film. When our energies are all directed towards good, amazing things can happen.
Cameron Williams - The Popcorn Junkie
What seemed a gimmicky device on the page feels even more awkwardly whimsical and implausible on screen
Jason Best - Movie Talk
Feels like a Very Special Episode of a hopelessly lightweight kids TV show, misguidedly attempting to have its say on an issue it can barely comprehend, let alone interpret.
Charlie Lyne - Ultra Culture
In the end, the movie is about healing and coming to understand that some things can't be explained.
Leah Rozen - The Wrap
I knew after I came out of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that I had been manipulated, but I didn't feel it mattered because the film told a story about a grieving family which had weight.
Martin Roberts - Fan The Fire
I can see why some might find the film sickly or overly sentimental, even a little forced, but it worked well enough on me to have me wiping away a few tears.
Tim Martain - The Mercury
I found this to be a peculiar movie. Some parts drew me in whilst other, not-so-believable parts, pushed me away.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
[A] dark daydream about coping with the secret guilts we all harbor, about the creeping horror of thinking about that day that all New Yorkers dealt with...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Its louder is better approach is just too much. The tantrums, the tears, the bloody tambourine the main character shakes at every given moment. It all culminates into a dizzying mesh of over the top sentiment.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
Veering from Amelie-esque whimsy to The Hours-like maudlin.
James Croot - Flicks.co.nz
Daldry honed his prowess for stories about boys on a mission with his worldwide hit, Billy Elliot (2000); here, the stakes are different but the need for audiences to feel the film is again paramount
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Eric Roth has crafted a wonderful screenplay from Jonathan Safran Foer's novel that reveals the vulnerable inner voice of the young boy who not only loses his father, but bears a heavy burden of guilt
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
By the end of the movie you feel like throwing Oskar's tambourine in the East River and sending him off to swap written messages in silence with his grandfather.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
It's the metaphor which is important here. The dawning realisation that searching for something might be more important than what you do or do not discover.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
Thomas Horn ... carrying a myriad emotions on very young and capable shoulders, regardless of obvious irritable character traits.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
The situation is wrenching in too many ways at once. You sit there, first cringing, then fighting back, out of primitive self-respect.
David Sexton - This is London
Daldry draws a memorable and believable performance from the youngster, who had never acted before but who has to carry the bulk of the film's narrative on his slender shoulders.
Catherine Jones - Liverpool Echo
It is a heartfelt, heartwarmer of a film that lacks the pain and profundity that the subject matter really deserves.
Allan Hunter - Daily Express
You rather end up wishing Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close would just pipe down and back off.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
So slow and self-important that its Academy Award Best Picture nomination only proves that the shortlist is too long...
Antonia Quirke - Financial Times
Just rather dull and a little bit long.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
Fascinating despite itself. Which every way you fall, this will provoke a strong reaction.
David Jenkins - Little White Lies
A mixed bag of intelligent tragedy and poor choices, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has the ability to tug at the heart strings - it just gets them a bit tangled.
Although running the risk of slipping into mawkish melodrama by the end, this still has the power to move.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
For anyone who understands the unfairness of grief it's a rare chance to let your guard down and go with an emotional flow...
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
Shamelessly manipulative, prone to mawkish sentimentality and let down by an ending that fails to ring true and feels like a cop-out.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Less a film about communication, in the end, than one with its fingers in its ears.
Ben Walters - Time Out
Even its failure lacks distinction. It's just a well-intentioned, mediocre film: extremely self-important and incredibly tiresome.
Siobhan Synnot - Scotsman
It's challenging, divisive and has moments of beauty but leaves you cold.
Angie Errigo - Empire Magazine
s it a movie about loss? Definitely. Is it a movie about 9/11? Sort of. Will you reach a for a tissue while you watch "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close?" Probably.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
The POV becomes irritatingly self-involved and self-tormenting. There's a game-playing with grief in the movie's roving, Lord-of-the-Wrings-Emotions quest.
Brian Gibson - Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
continues Daldry's trajectory of increasingly indigestible pretension, although he exchanges earnest morbidity for a mixture of cloying sentimentality and offbeat humor
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
It might not be quite as insulting a Best Picture nominee as The Blind Side, but it's incredibly close.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Thomas Horn's performance is the sword's edge that splits the divided reactions to this film. It is a fine performance, but the character is weird. Oskar doesn't talk like a child. He is more like a miniature Woody Allen, without the sense of humor.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
An important and touching reminder that so many are still dealing with their loss.
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
Extremely tacky and incredibly unimaginative!
Kam Williams - AALBC.com
As directed by Stephen Daldry, this adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel hauls out memories and images from 9/11 in an attempt to create fake sentiment and to accentuate its own sense of self-importance. Quite frankly, I found that offensive.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Daldry has one of the world's greatest actors, the 82-year-old Max von Sydow, play the part of a mute while the shrill obnoxious kid protagonist never stops talking.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Too emotionally bullying and manipulative to feel like anything other than an endurance test.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Extremely Loud & irritatingly quirky
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
...Oskar remains hopelessly unsympathetic virtually from start to finish.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Extremely long (or so it seemed) and incredibly bland.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
From its wordy title to the impressive vocabulary and compulsive list-making of its possibly autistic young narrator hero, this is a motion picture that never liberates itself from the printed page.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
It is at times extremely touching and incredibly moving. Unfortunately, at other times, it also is fairly flawed and slightly disappointing.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Moving, if heavy-handed, it's an emotional walkabout with real heart.
Kate Stables - Total Film
Jonathan Safran Foer's acclaimed novel about a boy whose father was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11 has been brought to the screen with great sensitivity and heart.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
When people jumped from the burning towers of the World Trade Center, no pretty piano music accompanied their fall.
Matt Pais - RedEye
The Guys, 25th Hour and United 93 paid tribute to the heroes of that fateful day; this picture mainly pays tribute to its ability to pat itself on the back.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
- Austin Chronicle
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Horn's naturalistic performance is so unmannered, expressive, and spontaneous that it almost overcomes every self-consciously precocious personality tic Foer has constructed. Almost.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Except as a tool for pediatric grief counseling, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close amounts to a fetishization of its own trappings (the boy, NYC, 9/11) more interested in Oscar than Oskar.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
More irritating than touching, healing or any of the positive things one would guess such a story and cast would produce.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
If you care to join him on that adventure, you'll likely find it incredibly affecting, a multi-hankie story, expertly made. If you don't? You'll resist the film's manipulations (and don't all films manipulate?), perhaps quite vocally.
Matt Soergel - Florida Times-Union
Somewhere in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close there probably is a great movie. It just didn't get made.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Yes, Daldry extracts a few tears in the process, but the increasing number of precious touches leaves you feeling pandered to and clumsily manipulated.
Alison Gang - San Diego Union-Tribune
As a portrait of what happens to a family when its glue disappears, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close wrung a bucket of tears out of me.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
Overall, the film is decent, but I kept expecting it to be something more emotionally engaging and powerful and perhaps a tad less manipulative. (Full Content Parental Review also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
Perhaps just being about 9/11 is this movie's greatest sin, as it is as well-made and well-acted as any film you'll see this year.
Mathew DeKinder - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The kid gets under our skin through a combination of pity and sheer irritation.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
A tighter edit wouldn't save the feature, but it would relieve its increasingly claustrophobic ambiance, allowing a firmer connection to the mourning.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Half the time you sit there wondering, what sort of mother lets her bereft 11-year-old wander New York City alone or in the company of an elderly stranger?
James Verniere - Boston Herald
One of the most emotional movies you will ever see in your life.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Horn's nonstop barrage of words fits the character, but he's supposed to be filled with terror and anxiety and it just comes across as overly confident. Some of the most crucial emotional scenes suffer.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Thomas Horn makes the film! The emotion he manages to evoke in a single scene is brilliant. He captivated me and had me living with him through the emotions.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
The quality of the craft at the best moments of the film is undeniable.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Terribly uneven, moving in places but very frustrating in others.
Rich Heldenfels - Akron Beacon Journal
I kept waiting for the disembodied voice of Paul Harvey to emerge on the soundtrack to announce "And that little boy. . .that nobody liked. . .grew up. . .to become. . .Wes Anderson. . ."
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
Extremely Loud and Ridiculous
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
Whenever the film totters toward sentimentality, young Horn snatches it back.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
It's extremely moving and incredibly compassionate.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is grim, but also uplifting as it defines how finally coming to grips with the inexplicable can be cathartic and how, though the person is gone, the memories always live on.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
The only Stephen Daldry film I've seen that I don't expect to feel the need to revisit.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
A well-meaning but perfunctory story that doesn't justify its use of what the boy calls 'the worst day.'
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
The youth's pain is palpable, and the film will stir viewers still wounded by that day and those who have suffered loss in general.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Rapidly becomes tiresome.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
The odd thing is how the movie gets more emotionally satisfying while moving away from 9/11 grief to more personal crises... the feeling that (the father)could have died alone in a car crash and the movie's best sequences wouldn't be hindered.
Steve Persall - St. Petersburg Times
The first great film of 2012!
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
The difficulty is mainly with the story, which despite all the emotion hovering around it, remains thin and uninvolving.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
This movie hasn't been in the conversation of the best films of the year, but it deserves to be. It's a viscerally enthralling story about a singular boy trying to find his place in the world when his only anchor is ripped away.
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
This is a story invented to exist in a book, and you can feel it resisting the jump to screen.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Through the boy's eyes we see a world that can be cruel, but that can also be filled with love, laughter and adventure.
Danny Minton - Fort Bend Sun
It's a genuinely moving and often lovely piece of work - beautifully acted and, ultimately, earning its tears.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is supposed to promote healing, but as they say in New York: close, but no cigar.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Some will find this 9/11-themed family drama powerful and imaginative; others, cloying and infuriating. The reality lies somewhere in the middle.
Jon Niccum - Kansas City Star
There are exactly three moments in Daldry's film which work and Sandra Bullock owns them all.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
It's all extraordinarily sentimental and manipulative, weighed down by Horn's mannered, grating performance and incessant voiceover narration.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
You need lots of gifted people chasing after the same bad idea to make a movie as colossally misguided as this one.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Too soon? For Stephen Daldry's 9/11 drama, the right time is "never."
Brett Michel - Boston Phoenix
...an uncomfortable combination of movie precociousness and real-world catastrophe.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
This is, if you can believe it, maybe the first mainstream example of 9/11 kitsch.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Cue the Oscar nominations.
Bruce Kirkland - Jam! Movies
Confuses profundity with bathos, narrative elegance with literary archness and emotional power with sentimental handwringing.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Horn delivers a star turn as Oskar, a child trying to make sense of a tragedy that still baffles us all.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Daldry and his screenwriter Eric Roth make the mistake of showing bodies falling from the Twin Towers - it's a mistake because its graphic power seems more exploitative than cathartic - but they otherwise thankfully refrain from pulling out all the stops.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Extraordinary and life-affirming, it packs a wrenching emotional wallop.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate