Bullock brings a home truth
I am a die-hard fan of any and all things Sandra Bullock. My mom introduced me to Bullock’s skill and talent a very long time ago with her favorite movie Practical Magic (1998). Sally Owens, a mom of two, lives in a modern world where witchcraft still frightens people and resorts to denying her powers. The only magic that wakes her up from this denial is the power of self-acceptance.
Bullock’s talent in Practical Magic woke me up to see that my mom is a person just like Sally Owens. A whimsy and mystical woman with great potential to heal the ones she loves, yet goes through self-sacrifice in order to recognize an inner power.
In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2012), Linda Schell (Sandra Bullock) copes with the loss of her husband (Tom Hanks) and the struggles of her son, Oskar (Thomas Horn) as the United States is attacked on 9/11. However, the movie is not centered around Bullock, but of Horn’s character, a nine-year-old adventurist. The journey of one boy’s mission and the connections he makes with the people of New York could not have been more inspiring.
This movie, that opened on January 20, 2012, wasn’t a box office hit or highly rated by acclaimed film critics. According to Tom Long, film critic from The Detroit News, the movie is “crass” and added that “obnoxious” should be included into the title. To close his review he remarks
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is the kind of movie you want to punch in the nose.
I did notice that the star ratings for the movie were extremely low, but was astonished throughout the film. “How could a Sandra Bullock film be so poorly rated?” I asked myself over and over again while eating some popcorn. Then it occurred to me that Sandra Bullock was in this movie for a reason. Some compelling piece of Linda Schell resonated with Bullock’s personality.
As Long mentions that the “horror of 9/11 with a cutesy story about a boy’s unlikely quest…as crass,” I am here to say that this movie was much more than an example of what Long refers to as “chutzpah.” As an award winning actress, Bullock ultimately has the decision to act in a movie or not, so clearly there must be a stronger theme in this film besides the historical event of 9/11 to entice Bullock-goers. Movies like The Blind Side (2009), Premonition (2007), and Hope Floats (1998) all capture the roller coaster of being a mother and expressing the flow of love.
A bond between mother and child could not have been more suiting for Bullock’s role in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; she probably wanted to connect with Linda Schell on a maternal level, since she is raising baby Louis in real life. Something male critics may not have enough insight for.
I agree that the September 11th attacks aren’t something of playful nature, of course, but in the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the revelations of dealing with grief and death are universal and aren’t just solely equated with what happened on 9/11. People who are young and old deal with grief and loss differently and all have treasures to unlock.
Perhaps Tom Long wasn’t noticing the extremely loud and incredibly close signs of human connection with love while he watched the film. Or maybe he got up and used the bathroom and missed the important scenes. No matter what happened, he is entitled to his own opinion. I guess the saying goes for reviews too, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close breaks the common patriotic theme of 9/11 and settles on a louder and closer story that hits home for everyone. We never truly understand just how far ahead the maternal intuition is in today’s age.