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Friday, July 20, 2012

MMM Movies: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

by Saint Mark (bio)

Having read and listened to the news about last night's brutal maiming and murder of audience members at The Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora, Colorado, I wonder what devastating and profound effect it will have on the relatives of the traumatized? What about the individual and collective memories that will ripple out until understanding and forgiveness are achieved?

On this same premise is the film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (trailer), except the story isn’t a horrific shooting at the local movie theater, but 9-11. The quasi-Asperger's Syndrome suffering son of a victim of the destruction of the World Trade Towers has enough anxiety without the horror of 9-11 to make him phobic of people and outside places, but 9-11 pushes him over the edge. He fears, for example, "things that fly, things that go fast, people eating meat, subways, elevators, bridges" and the list goes on and on. Having seen the movie just last week, I cannot keep myself from juxtaposing those surviving the victims of the Century 16 shooting and this little boy in Extremely Loud. What anxieties, neuroses and phobias will percolate to the top of their psyche?

Yet, why I recommend this movie is not for the obstacles but for the overcoming of those obstacles. As this child of 9-11 shows, living with fear is not living at all. Watching him slowly but deliberately tackle his fears, I realized that faith was the motivating power. Faith in God (for me), faith in people (that they wouldn't attack him or treat him brutally), faith in buildings (that they wouldn't fall down on him), faith in the everyday experience of living and going about while trying to achieve one's goals. Faith is foundational in believing that when one walks through their door to the outside world, they shall return home with all being well - even if the "home" they believe they are returning to is heaven.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was a dramatic, tearful, heart-wrenching yet beautiful and redemptive movie experience. This film is not to be watched with the faint of heart nor the young. As we see from the Aurora shooting and from 9-11, the times we live in can be full of terror but it is when we are full of faith that we can overcome fear and not only survive but live.

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