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Tom Hanks' New 9/11 Film Could Spark Flashbacks, Advocates Warn

By Julie Shapiro | December 25, 2011 12:04pm
Some 9/11 victims' family members may be traumatized by
Some 9/11 victims' family members may be traumatized by "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," a 9/11 nonprofit warned.
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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

LOWER MANHATTAN — Those who were traumatized on 9/11 should think twice before seeing "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," a heartbreaking new film launching Christmas Day, a 9/11 nonprofit has warned victims' families and survivors.

The Tribute WTC Visitor Center, a small Lower Manhattan museum founded by family members of 9/11 victims, sent out an email days before the opening day of the movie about a young boy whose father was killed in the Twin Towers. They said the film contains intense images that could trigger flashbacks, and warned them to prepare themselves mentally before deciding whether to see the film.

"If your intentions are to go and see this film, you should be prepared to possibly relive past issues or have difficulty handling those you have currently, due to [the] 9/11 attacks," the Tribute Center said in the email sent Friday evening and obtained by DNAinfo.  

"Use your own discretion when deciding if this incredibly inspiring and moving film will give you an experience [that] we would want you to walk away with."

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," based on a 2005 novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, follows the precocious pre-teen Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) as he searches for answers following the death of his father Thomas (Tom Hanks).

The film includes many vivid portrayals of post-9/11 grief, including Oskar's disconsolate mother Linda (Sandra Bullock). Director Stephen Daldry shot the movie in New York also splices in real video footage from 9/11, including television newscasts, according to the New York Times.  

"Be prepared for a very sobering and real life experience," the Tribute Center said.

Before they began filming, Bullock and Hanks visited the Tribute Center at 120 Liberty St., across from the World Trade Center site, and took a tour of the area with 9/11 survivors and victims' family members, the center said.

Bullock and Hanks also met the center's founder, retired firefighter Lee Ielpi, a 9/11 first responder whose firefighter son was killed in the towers' collapse.

Ielpi and Tribute Center co-founder Jennifer Adams "had a heart-warming experience with Bullock and Hanks" and thought the film did a good job of capturing the loss experienced by 9/11 families, the Tribute Center said on its Facebook page.

"[Ielpi and Adams] were incredibly moved by the film and how relationships and loss are portrayed in families affected by the 9/11 attacks," the center said.

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" opens Dec. 25 at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 at 850 Broadway and the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 at 1998 Broadway and will have a wider release in January.