1. Religion & Spirituality

'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'

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miracle movie

Actors Tom Hanks, Thomas Horn, and Sandra Bullock attend the 'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close' New York premiere.

Stephen Lovekin /Staff / Getty Images Entertainment

Asking Spiritual Questions:

Can miracles emerge from even the most difficult situations in life? Is it worthwhile to search for meaning in suffering? Can grief miraculously lead to inspiration? Can people who care about you act like guardian angels in your life? The movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Warner Brothers Pictures, 2011) asks audiences those questions as it presents the story of a boy's quest to make sense of his grief after his father dies in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York City.

Famous Miracle Quotes:

Oskar Schell: "Maybe everybody’s looking for something."

Oskar Schell: "If things were easy to find …" Thomas Schell: "…they wouldn’t be worth finding."

Oskar Schell: "Dad said, sometimes we have to face our fears."

Woman who prays for Oskar when he visits her: "Every day is a miracle." Oskar: "I don't believe in miracles." Woman: "Finding what this key fits would be a miracle."

The Plot:

Oskar Schell (played by Thomas Horn), a 9-year-old boy whose father Thomas (played by Tom Hanks) was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City, begins a search that he hopes will bring meaning to his grief when he discovers a key that may lead him to a person who knew his dad.

When Thomas Schell was alive, he and Oskar enjoyed going on "reconnaissance missions" together to search for something. Since Oskar is exceptionally smart and inquisitive, yet awkward around people, Thomas thought the process of talking with people while searching for something would prove valuable for his son's growth.

The key that Oskar discovers after his father's death fits a box belonging to a New York resident whose last name is "Black." In order to find the right person, Oskar must visit hundreds of different people and talk with them about his dad -- which Oskar's mom (played by Sandra Bullock) lets him do while she secretly watches over his journey as a guardian angel would.

A mysterious neighbor (played by Max Von Sydow) who doesn't speak because of his traumatic experiences long ago (and who is likely Oskar's grandfather), decides to encourage Oskar by accompanying him on his visits to various New Yorkers. The older man's comforting presence with Oskar is like that of a guardian angel watching over Oskar on his quest, even though the man doesn't step up to his grandfatherly role as he should.

Some of the different people who talk with Oskar about his late dad also help Oskar move further along in his spiritual journey, much like guardian angels might guide him. The more people Oskar visits, the more he discovers the miracles of healing from his grief and seeing some good purposes emerge from his pain.

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