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. 



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

The Secret Service’s Big Problems Were Revealed Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

Natasha Lyonne Is Coming to the Live Culture Gabfest. Are You?

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
Business Insider
Oct. 2 2014 11:16 AM Some McDonald's Monopoly Properties Matter More
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
Oct. 2 2014 11:34 AM Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Putting teenage girls on trial may finally be too much for the Supreme Court.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 11:35 AM Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar’s New Video Is Somehow Both Creepy and Joyful
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM Surge Pricing Is Not Price Gouging
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 2 2014 9:49 AM In Medicine We Trust Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?