Having not read the book on which this film is based, I can't comment on how faithful it is to the novel, but on its own merits the film version of `Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close' is a well-made, satisfying and moving movie outing.
Having watched the film, I suspect the novel is superior, because the story doesn't really lend itself to a feature film; there is a final fulfilling climax, but not enough story conflict along the way to make it thoroughly gripping at every stage of Oskar's journey. In particular Oskar's unrealistic autonomy is a sticking point, and although this is eventually explained, this along with other unlikely events doesn't ground the production in the reality that you feel would have best served the material and made for a more profound experience. But that's not to say it isn't fantastically shot, directed and acted, because it is.
Although I do feel some criticism of the casting of Oskar's parents to be warranted, because (even though they do a very good job) actors with more range and on-screen presence than Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock would no doubt have made this story even more impactful and poignant.
In spite of the years that have passed since 11th September 2001 the use of the tragedy of that day as the main focal point for this story is no less effective. The occasional (somewhat) graphic representational shots of the fates of some of the people in the World Trade Centers on that day will surely be traumatic for some viewers, especially those directly effected, but I think the film-makers have balanced that sensitively with the touching nature of Oskar's quest and the final sharing of pain and joy between Oskar and his mother at their memory of their lost loved one.
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