The Emotionally Manipulative New Trailer for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 8 2011 9:43 AM

Trailer Critic: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Still from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) and his father Thomas Schell Jr. (Tom Hanks) in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Photo by Francois Duhamel – © 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

If you love Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, you can’t help but feel protective. Few books spend so many pages ingratiating themselves with the reader, and ELAIC does this in an extraordinarily clever, cute, and heartbreaking manner—effectively making literary doe eyes at the reader through the page. (It’s about an adorable little boy, for God’s sake. Leave Oskar alone!)

So I’ve been particularly resistant to the ELAIC movie—directed by Stephen Daldry, the man behind Billy Elliot, The Reader, and The Hours, and due out this Christmas—ever since it was announced. But here’s what I now realize, especially as I watch this new trailer: Resistance is futile. You may think you can snicker at this ELAIC trailer on your laptop, but take it in at the megaplex, trapped in the dark, cowering below the big screen, and it is the emotional equivalent of Ryan Gosling stomping your head in.

Is this okay? I’m more sympathetic to schmaltz than most—subtlety is too often an excuse to privilege what you get over what others don’t—but the idea of a September 11th movie trying to comfort me, and by sending an omnibenevolent Tom Hanks to mug tenderly at the camera no less, makes me want to gag in his face. This is the second trailer for the movie, and the only improvement over the previous one is that it wisely replaces the old uplifting finishing-moveHoppípolla” with another rouser that’s at least a little less clichéd.

The novel, to be fair, isn’t such a gooey, Daddy’s-going-to-make-everything-okay slushblanket. It’s oppressively sad, sure, but—appropriate for an unjustifiable tragedy like the attacks of September 11th—it doesn’t try to make anything seem fair. You get a glimpse of that in this trailer—Sandra Bullock crying, “It’s never going to make sense, because it doesn’t”—but here’s hoping that there’s a lot more of that hopelessness in the feature film.

Grade: C-

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 6:23 PM Bryan Cranston Reenacts Baseball’s Best Moments to Promote the Upcoming Postseason
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.