We've always kind of wanted Tom Hanks to be our dad (or at least our tennis partner), but after watching the first clip, "Strawberry Fields," we're not so sure. Hanks is seen strategizing for a scavenger hunt he's going to send his autistic son on. "He'll have to talk to everyone he meets," Hanks says, like a James Bond villain. What kind of father sends his autistic son into Central Park and then wants him to talk to everybody? Get it together, Hanks!
The next clip, called "Amateur," shows Hanks and his son working on what appears to be his son's resume (we can only assume that he survived his journey into Central Park). What's striking about this scene (and all the scenes, really) is the wonderful music in the background, composed by certified genius Alexandre Desplat. The schmaltz seems to lessen by several degrees by its mere presence in the scene.
"Swings," the third clip, showcases Hanks talking to his son about "the sixth borough," a New York legend. Or something. It's been a while since we read the book. All of the sleuthing and planning done in the earlier clips seems to relate to this legend in some way. A cute scene but, again, the biggest star in the scene isn't Hanks, it's Desplat.
In the second-to-last scene (called "Odd") the little kid (Thomas Horn) is talking to Viola Davis, whose husband has roughed her up or yelled at her or something. The kid, Oskar, tells her that he was tested for Asberger's disease, a form of autism, and that the tests were inconclusive. When he talks about a key and a lock that his father left him, he sounds like a mini-Robert Langdon, but towards the end of the clip, when he asks Davis if he can take a photo of her so that he can remember her face, it's genuinely touching.
The last clip, "My Story is My Story," shows Oskar interacting with a shut-in played by Max von Sydow who doesn't speak but has the words "Yes" and "No" scrawled on his palms. The talky little kid keeps peppering him with questions, until von Sydow writes something down on a piece of paper. One question the kid didn't ask is: You had to drop out of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" for this?
"Extremely Loud and Incredibly CLose" is out on Christmas day, so you can cry together as a family. 'Tis the season.