Stay with IBTimes over the next two weeks as we analyze each Academy Award Best Picture nominee's chances of winning the Oscar. This week, we bring you "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."
You've got New York City, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, an adorable newcomer named Thomas Horn who has a "Jeopardy" past, the direction of Stephen Daldry, and an amazing story by Jonathan Safran Foer.
So what went incredibly wrong with "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," one of nine films nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars?
Too much too soon?
Ten years after the events of 9/11, was it too soon to adapt Foer's bestselling novel about a boy (Horn) who goes on an expedition around New York City after his father (Hanks) is killed in one of the towers?
Was it too soon to show the burning towers, flying papers and the boy's mom (Bullock) on the last phone call with her soon-to-be-dead husband?
Was it wrong to miss Tom Hanks so much during the film that one could truly sympathize with the young boy, but at the same time forget that Hanks was actually in character?
Bring on the tears.
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" is ambitious, at times. But it's a cry-fest the entire time.
For two hours, the tears are non-stop. Since when did crying become the norm for a film, and laughing, or not crying, become something frowned upon?
OK, so "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" is no "Requiem for a Dream," "Sophie's Choice" or "Schindler's List" -- the top three saddest movies as rated by IMDB users. But Daldry's adaptation is no walk in the park either. It's an emotional rollercoaster that is perhaps best enjoyed (if one could enjoy sad films) alone, not in a theater full of people crying at the same time about the images before them.
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" will not go home with the Best Picture Oscar not because of the acting, but because of the number of strong contenders up for the prize this year. ("The Artist" is favored to win by a mile, right up there with "The Descendants" and/or "The Help").
Hanks, Bullock and Horn all shine. But the shiniest of them all is Max Von Sydow, who received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor playing the silent Renter who communicates with a pen and notepad and his tattooed Yes and No palms.
Blink and you'll also miss Viola Davis, who has a small role in the film. But her Oscar journey has been brought to you in large part by her other 2011 picture, "The Help."
With a Rotten Tomatoes aggregated rating of 45 percent, critics have had a love-it-or-hate-it relationship with the film since its Christmas 2011 release. One critic called the movie "Daldry's extremely labored and incredibly crass adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel," while another praised it as a film "for anyone who understands the unfairness of grief, it's a rare chance to let your guard down and go with an emotional flow."
Save the tears. Read the book. Watch the Oscars on Feb. 26.
What do you think of "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close?" Will Stephen Daldry's film win Best Picture at the Oscars?
Follow IBTimes for reviews and predictions for all the Best Picture nominees. We'll publish the results of our survey the weekend of the Academy Awards.