Image courtesy: google (stills from the movie)

I watched the movie ‘Extremely loud and incredibly close’ starring Tom Hanks, Thomas Horn and Sandra Bullock, a few days back. The movie is about a child who was extremely close to his dad and lost him in the 9/11 attack. The movie tells the story of how the child finding a key in his father’s closet goes on a search which will fit the lock, thinking that his father left something for him, in a box somewhere.

There are several ideas which simultaneously play out in the movie. The loss of lives in 9/11, the helplessness and uncertainty of the people during/ immediately after the attack, the journey of a child towards coping with the death of his father, a mother’s efforts to understand her child’s thinking pattern etc.

A lot of emotions passed through my mind as I watched the movie, I even had tears in my eyes at the end,  but the one feeling which stayed with me for days was the feeling of helplessness during the 9/11 attacks. I am certain all the people who were in the world trade center at the time of the attack and all the people who were aware of their loved one’s presence there at that time might have had the same feeling of helplessness as portrayed in the film. The communication lines were disrupted, panic everywhere, people pushing, fire…I can’t even imagine!


In the movie, the father who was in the twin towers during the attack, desperately tried calling his son to talk to him, make him understand and eventually left multiple messages on the phone. His wife tells him when she hears him from the site, to come home, but the helplessness in her voice is unmistakable. She knows she is unable to do anything. The child is unable to pick up the phone as his father tries to call…he understands the situation but is feeling scared! The probable last minutes of the father’s life is spent in a desperate attempt to talk to his son.

I kept thinking about how and what the outcome of the attack was. The wounds of the people affected by that attack is yet to heal!

Image from google

This is not just the story of 9/11. There are incidents like this every day, somewhere in the world – the terrorist strike on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, train bombings in Chennai, strikes on churches, temples…Then there are wars – wars against terrorism, war to protect a country’s borders…

Who and what did anyone gain by killing all the people?

What is gained when nations go to war?

What does anyone gain when hundreds of people are killed?

The people who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack, the people who lose their lives in a terrorist strike, are not even aware of what and why they died. The loved ones who are left behind feel helplessness.. It is always easy to tell them about moving on, but is it ever easy to go on after losing a loved one? Does the feeling of emptiness ever leave?

Image courtesy: google

The helplessness while waiting for any news, the desperateness of not even finding one’s loved one’s remains, the pain which remains with you for ever….


2 thoughts on “Helpless

  1. I remember watching this movie a couple of years ago. Intense and thoughtful expression of human emotions…I think you have zoomed in on the key theme of helplessness one may feel.

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