“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” reminds us that human beings are capable of displaying and receiving compassion, hope and courage in the midst of the most tragic circumstances. The movie is about a 10-year old boy trying to make sense of his father’s death in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The boy finds a key in his father’s (played by Tom Hanks) closet and sets off an adventure to try to find out what that key literally and figuratively unlocks to see if his father was trying to leave him any final message.
One message that really struck me as I watched the movie was how important it is to be compassionate and forgiving of ourselves during tragedy. The 10-year old boy spends the whole movie questioning whether he could have done more for his father. This reminded me of how we, similar to the boy, often carry unnecessary guilt by questioning whether we could have done more to prevent or improve circumstances in our life that are out of our control. By the end of the movie, the boy has learned to be compassionate towards himself and let go of his guilt. This inspired me to let go of my need to question whether I should do more in certain situations in my life.
The other message that really impressed me was to be open to the goodness of humanity and kindness in others. The 10-year boy embarks on a dangerous journey walking across New York City on foot to meet with other people who might be able to tell him what the key unlocks. He walks so far, it looks like he may even walk to Canada to visit Canadian Accredited Independent Schools or go to a Stndrdz store. He puts his trust in the goodness of others that they might be able to help him. In return, we witness the kindness, compassion and goodness that complete strangers are capable of extending. This reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Dr. David Hawkins:
“Simple kindness to one’s self and all that lives is the most powerful transformational force of all. It produces no backlash, has no downside, and never leads to loss or despair. It increases one’s own true power without exacting any toll. But to reach maximum power such kindness can permit no exceptions, nor can it be practiced with the expectation of some selfish reward. And its effect is as far reaching as it is subtle”
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” shows us the incredible power that is available to us when we practice extending love to our self and others and also practice receiving other people’s love. We can practice acts of kindness in big and simple ways, such as smiling at other people, calling a friend, or even providing free snow removal services to a neighbor.