Monthly Archives: July 2012

Quick Flick: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Movie - KenAvenue.com

I don’t know why movies about socially awkward children have become a big hit in the film industry quite recently.

I remember watching “August Rush” back in 2007. It’s a story about an orphaned musical prodigy who finds both of his musician parents through his musical escapades and misadventures. And there’s “Hugo,” which was released late 2011. It’s a story about another orphan who tries to find solace with his father’s death who left him with only one earthly possession – a non-working automaton.

I guess children, specifically boys, with some form of autism make a more interesting story than impeccably normal children. The same is true with “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Our protagonist is Oskar Schell, a boy with Asperger’s syndrome who lost his father in the 9-11 bombing. It’s a typically boring movie that most people would find difficult to sit through. But I honestly think the film was exquisitely done. Its beauty is not about the cinematography or the visual effects. What made it beautiful are the things that were not shown, nor said. It is how the story affects you, and how you translate and respond to the bits and pieces of the story.

“And I’m even glad to have my disappointment which is much better than having nothing.”

Not everything we want, we can get. Life is full of successes, as well disappointments. And one memory that reminds of the quote above is when I failed our kitchen laboratory final exams in culinary school. There is no one to blame but myself. I had been complacent. Over-confident even. I was sure I was going to pass since I’ve aced most of our other exams. But I was so wrong. I had a hard time taking it all in since it was my first time to fail an exam ever, but the idea of telling it to my Mom was a harder fact to swallow. But I was glad it happened. That brief moment (which felt like an eternity) of disappointment is a whole lot better than passing the exam but is unknowingly carrying a weight of complacency around my ankles, which I’m sure sooner or later would lead to graver consequences. From that day on, I swore never to be complacent.

If the sun were to explode, you wouldn’t even know about it for 8 minutes because that’s how long it takes for light to travel to us. For eight minutes the world would still be bright and it would still feel warm. It was a year since my dad died and I could feel my eight minutes with him… were running out.

August 2007, my Mom had to go under the knife to have her enlarged thyroid gland removed. It was my Mom, who in my eyes was the invincible Superwoman. But there she was lying in bed, wearing a hospital gown as we all waited for her to be ushered into the operating room. The surgery went well, but the doctor had bad news. They found benign cancer cells while removing the mass. It was really not a reason to be alarmed, but the fact that they found cancer cells, even benign, means my Mom can develop cancer cells again, and who knows that next time, it would be the type of cancer we should become worried about.

As a sophomore in a nursing course that time, I already know and understand the basic stuff about cancer, but I responded to hearing the news from the doctors with denial. Cancer happens to other moms, not mine. I was sure the doctors had it wrong, even suggesting to seek second opinion from other physicians. It took me a whole lot longer than 8 minutes, perhaps years, to realize the gravity of my Mom’s condition.

However, it also dawned on me that I did the right thing of brushing everything aside. My mother didn’t need validation of her illness. What she needed more than anything else that time is strength, and my denial somehow provided that.

Linda Schell, in a way, is God

Oskar’s mom, Linda Schell, played by Sandra Bullock, at the beginning, gives an impression of a dysfunctional parent, who zones out from her maternal duties as she grieves over her husband’s death. She allows Oskar to wander the 5 boroughs of New York alone in search of what the key he found in his father’s closet could open. I have judged her for letting Oskar roam the streets of New York alone. It’s parental neglect. But I will soon be proven wrong when the story finally reaches its conclusion and Linda reveals that she had known about Oskar’s plan. She went ahead of him, and talked to all the people Oskar would be visiting in his quest, making sure he will be well-accepted and kept away from harm’s way.

Linda reminds me of God. There were times in my life when I thought God has totally abandoned me, left to suffer life’s cruelties all alone. One instance was when I was in Singapore for two months trying to find a job. At night, I would always talk to Him, praying to finally get a job. But my two months flew by so fast, and before I knew it I was back in the Philippines, devastated from what a failure I had become. I had stopped praying then. My God has neglected me. Or so I thought. Now, more than a year after my short trip in Singapore, I will soon graduate from Culinary School. It turns out, God had better plans for me. He had always been there. He had never left my side after all.

Despite receiving more negative than positive reviews from movie critics, I could say I enjoyed watching this movie. I would trade watching “Transformers” over this, seriously. The movie is based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer entitled, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” A lot of reviews say that the book is better than the movie, so this definitely goes on top of my books-to-buy list!