What a powerful movie which moves the emotions and touches the senses in a way few films do. This is a movie which most people will relate to, to some degree, and in one way or another. It is regrettable that two crudities and strong utterances of language prevent us from awarding the movie our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.
Tom Hanks lends his likable personality to the character of Thomas Schell, a jeweler who would have loved to have been a scientist. He spends as much time as he can with his eleven-year-old son Oskar (Thomas Horn), working on experiments together and sharing oxymorons with one another as they practice the martial arts together.
The tragedy of 9/11 strikes the family and both Oskar and his mother Linda (Sandra Bullock) deal with the pain and grief in trying to make sense out of the horrible event because, as Linda Schell says, “You can’t make sense out of this.” Oskar finds a key his father had hidden in a vase and the small yellow envelope holding the key says “Black” on the back. He becomes determined to search every family named Black in the surrounding five boroughs until he hunts down the mystery of the key. What will the key unlock and what was his Dad trying to say to him?
The movie contains some nice scenes of people reaching out to Oskar and comments like the one a character makes about people being more like letters and not numbers; because letters form words and stories and everyone has a story to share. It’s too bad we can’t award our Dove Seal to this sensitive and emotional film which will take viewers back to that period some ten years ago. But the language throws a monkey wrench into the mix and prevents us from being able to recommend this one for the family.