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Tanya Khoury: Emotional rollercoaster
May 18, 2012
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I have been meaning to see this film for a while as I had heard quite a lot of praise about the book. Not that adapted titles are generally a success, still I thought this story would have been interesting to see on screen.

The story is revolved around the time when Sept.11 occurred and told from the perspective of a young boy who lost his father on that tragic day – the relationship between the child and his father, and the journey of loss, anger and acceptance all squeezed in together within this fragile character. A lot can be said and continues to be said about the sad occurrences of Sept.11 but in this story you step into the life and what it means to suffer silently through the eyes of a child.

Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks play the parents to Oskar Shell, starring the extremely aware and talented Thomas Horn. It has been adapted for the screen by Eric Rohn who was responsible for the writing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Forrest Gump and Munich. The novel is written by Jonathan Safron Foer, who wrote a book I thoroughly enjoyed, Everything is Illuminated. Stephen Daldry is the director, previously known for The Hours and Billy Eliot. The reason for all the mentions is to give praise to all the talent pool that has invested in the film.

Oskar has Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as Aspergers, and finds communicating with the outside world tougher than ever. This is the focal point of the film for me, how that communication translates onto the screen. I have my views on the film as a package, a tad too long for sure as well as sometimes a little disconnected, lacking consistency in some of the scenes. However, the actor playing the son steals the show time and time again. No matter what I think during a scene I particularly don’t like, Thomas Horn comes in and takes full control of it. For such a young actor all this ‘acting’ caged up from the inside is quite fascinating to watch. I would love to continue seeing him in more challenging roles.

Now onto the film, you see it’s a perspective at the end of the day; something happened to someone on a day that shook the lives of so many people. The way the story comes about and the characters unfold are all credible, the plot also works in that favour, but my main issue was with how it all gelled together as a full story to serve the film on screen. The child has plenty of screen time with the members of his family almost throughout the entire story and yet each one of those scenes, when put together to serve the films purpose, feels disjointed and a little lacking. I would have preferred a more consistent flow of character interaction. I do continue to stress on the fact that the kid brought a lot if not everything to the film. His abilities to range from anger and excitement make you really feel with the story being told.

Therefore, in conclusion I want to point out that this film is indeed very touching and can get quite emotional. If you are anything like me, bring a box of tissues along, that child is just too much! A good adaptation that definitely had more potential but a watchable movie nonetheless. Surely the book would be the better option, but seeing fresh talent is always inspiring and so it’s a 6.8/10.
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