Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011) - full transcript

A troubled young boy, Oskar, is trying to cope with the loss of his father. Oskar starts lashing out at his mother and the world. Until a year later, he discovers a mysterious key in his father's belongings and embarks on a scavenger hunt to find the matching lock, just as he used to when his father was alive. On this journey he is bound to meet a lot of people and learn a lot about himself and his family, but will he ever find the lock?

OSKAR: There are more people alive now
than have died in all of human history.

But the number of dead people
is increasing.

One day, there isn't going to be
any room to bury anyone any more.

So, what about skyscrapers
for dead people that were built down?

They could be underneath the skyscrapers
for living people that are built up.

You could bury people
100 floors down...

...and a whole dead world
could be underneath the living one.

MINISTER:... father of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us all with the gift of...

Doesn't anybody know
there isn't anybody in the coffin?

We should've filled it with his shoes
or something.

It's like a pretend funeral.

For a goldfish or something.

This is just what it is, Oskar.

It doesn't make sense.


What if you could ride an elevator
down to visit your dead relatives...

...just like you take the bridge
to see your friends in Brooklyn...

...or the ferry to Staten Island?

Dad once told me that New York
used to have a Sixth Borough...

...right next to Manhattan.

But you can't visit that any more...

...because it floated away
and no one knows where it is.

Okay, you think you're so smart?

Let's find the Sixth Borough.


And? What?

"And what" what?

What am I supposed to find?

What are the clues?


He shrugged his shoulders like he had
no idea what I was talking about.

I loved that.

This was my favorite game
Dad and I would play.

We called it
"Reconnaissance Expedition."

I found something from every decade
in the 20th Century.


You rock.


He rocks!

The search for the Sixth Borough
was the greatest expedition ever.

THOMAS: All right, I've got
amateur entomologist, Francophile...

...amateur archeologist,
computer consultant.

Why "amateur" everything?

It's a compliment.

Amateur pacifist?

THOMAS: "Pacifist."
- Amateur inventor.

Inventor. Good one.

Okay, you're all set.

Dad designed my expeditions
so I would have to talk to people...

...which he knew
I had a hard time doing.


What do you want?

What do you think?

Could be useful.


Can't you even tell me
if I'm on the right track?

But if you don't tell me,
how can I ever be right'?

Well, another way of looking at it is...

...how can you ever be wrong?


There you go. Thank you very much.

Central Park didn't used to be
where it is now.

Dad said it used to rest
in the center of the Sixth Borough.

Enormous hooks were driven
deep into the ground...

...and the park was pulled by
all the people of New York...

...like a rug across the floor,
from the Sixth Borough into Manhattan.



I found something. Over!

What area, Oskar? Over!

Zone E-3. Over!

Dad said it's only because
of the clues in Central Park...

...that we know
the Sixth Borough existed at all.

Where's this from?

Oh, that was my father's.
Grandma gave it to me when I was little.

Never had much use for it.

What's this?

Oh. Grandma's old home movies.

Haven't seen these in years.

OSKAR: Do you know what your father
looked like?

Nope, not a clue.

Here's what I do know:

He was from Dresden,
which was in Germany...

...went through some really bad stuff...

...and decided he wasn't up
to having a family.

OSKAR: That's it?
- That's it.

Did you always want to be a jeweler?

I might have liked
to have been a scientist.

I'll never know.

Why is that?

Because I'm a jeweler.

Strawberry Fields.

Belvedere Castle.

What's he looking for?

Well, when he finds it, let him tell you.

Gonna send him all over the park...

...and he'll have to talk to
every single person he meets.

It'll be the greatest
Reconnaissance Expedition.

Don't make it so hard on him.

THOMAS: If it was easy,
this wouldn't be worth finding.

And what kind of adult
is he gonna turn into?

I don't know.
That's what I have you for.

He'll be one of those guys who falls
in love with the very first bossy...

- Watch it.
- I mean, beautiful...

...flaxen-haired lady
who tells him what to do.

LINDA: Like write the check?

- How much?
- It's the last one. It's 71.40.

- $71.40.
- Where are you going?


Was there really a Sixth Borough?

Well, as with anything, if you want
to believe, you can find reasons to.

What reasons?

The clues, of course.

What clues?

What clues? The clues!

The peculiar fossil record
of Central Park.

The incongruous pH balance
of that reservoir.

And that brings us to the swings.

According to the paper of record, ahem...

...a note was found beneath
one of those swings in Central Park.

And because of many scientific tests...

...which you are too young
and I am too simple to understand...

...they were able to determine
that the note must have been written...

...in the Sixth Borough.

What did it say?


What a fantastic question.

Let's find out.


Ah... It doesn't say.
It ought to, but it doesn't.

- Can I see that?
- You want to see what?

Wanna see this? No?

That was the last conversation
we ever had.

- Give it!
- It's behind you, behind you! Hold on.

The next time I heard
my dad's voice...

...was when I got home from school
that morning on the worst day.



Because of what was going on,
they let us out of school early.

MAN [ON TV]: Again, that's the incident,
that's what we are hearing.

This is terrible.

You're not supposed to smoke in the lobby.
You'll get in trouble.

There's no such thing as trouble today.
Where are your parents?

Is anybody downtown?

My mom's at work.
My dad's at a meeting somewhere.

Anyway, it's none of your business,
dip shiitake.

Eff you, Oskar.

Succotash my ball sack.

Oh, God.



WOMAN [ON RECORDING]: Message one,
September 11 th, 8:56 a.m.

Are you there? Hello?

If you're there, darling, pick up.

Ugh. I just tried the office,
but no one was picking up.

Uh, listen, uh, something's happened.
I'm okay.

They're telling us to stay where we are
and wait for the firemen.

I'm sure it's fine. I'll give you another call
when I have a better idea of what's going on.

I wanted to let you know that I'm okay
and not to worry...

...and I'll call again soon.
All right, bye-bye.


two, September 11th, 9:12 a.m.

THOMAS: Are you there? Are you there?
It's me again.


I was hoping you would be home.
I don't know if you heard about what happened...

...but I wanted you to
know that I'm okay.

Everything is fine. We're still waiting
to find out what we're supposed to do.

It's pretty chaotic. Firemen
are supposed to be coming. What...


If the sun were to explode...

you wouldn't even know
about it for eight minutes...

...because that's how long it takes
for light to travel to us.

For eight minutes,
the world would still be bright...

...and it would still feel warm.



It was a year since my dad died...

...and I could feel
my eight minutes with him...

...were running out.


WOMAN [ON TV]: Democrats argued
that Estrada is too conservative...

...and not answering all
of their questions.

Estrada was first nominated
for the position in May, 2001.

The Bush administration has asked for a 4.
2 percent increase in military spending...

- -from 365 billion dollars
to 380 billion dollars.

That figure does not include...


OSKAR [IN VOICE-OVER]: I hadn't gone into
my dad's closet since the worst day.

Mom hadn't touched his stuff.

It was all there.



Oskar! You okay?

This is Oskar Schell.

Grandma? Grandma, are you awake?



It's Grandma. Uh, what is it, sweetheart?
Can't you sleep?

Do you want me to come over? Over.

Did Dad ever mention a special key
to you, Grandma? Over.

A special key?

I don't think so, no.
A special key? What for?

What was this special key for?


Ls the Renter home? Over.

The Renter? No, no,
he's never home this early. Over.

had rented a room to a man...

...three weeks after the worst day.

OSKAR: Why is the Renter's door always
closed? And why can I never meet him?

He likes quiet.

OSKAR: Why can't you tell me
anything about him?

He's someone I knew in the old country.
Now play.


How long will he be here?

He never stays any place for long.

Is he dangerous?

If you ever see him, don't say anything.

He can get very angry. Now play.


What have you found, Oskar? Over.

Oskar, are you still there?


It's for some kind of lockbox.

It's not like any of these.
It's thicker, harder to break.

But it's not for a fixed
safe, I don't think.

Could be a safe deposit box,
post office box.

It's old. Maybe 20, 30 years old.

How can I find the company
that made it?

Anyone could've made it.

Then how do I find the lock that it fits?

I'm afraid I can't help you there, unless you
wanna try it in anything you come across.

You never know what a key's gonna fit.
There are a million different possibilities.

That's what I love about keys.
They all open something.

Just one.

Shouldn't you be in school?

It's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Lie number two.

I started counting my lies earlier that
morning when I told Mom I had a fever.

I don't wanna potentially infect
a multitude of people at school.

I could be a walking pathogen.

I thought Martin Luther King's birthday
was in January.

It used to be. They changed it.

That was lie number three.

Hold on, Oskar.

Who's "Black"?
On the envelope?

Anybody you know?

Could be somebody who knows
something about the key.

Thanks for being
such a great locksmith.

What do you need these for?

A project on the census.

Lie number four.

Why aren't you in school?

- They said I know too much already.
- Ah.

Black, Black, Black.


Well, "Black" was definitely a person.

If "Black" was a person, he or she
must have known Dad somehow.


But how?
And how was I going to find him/her?

Was this a Reconnaissance

Lagos, Nigeria. And it drifted...

Dad's expeditions
always included a journey.

...2278.3 nautical miles.


And he always planned them,
down to the smallest details.

Five miles an hour.

Seven hundred.

What else could it be?

If there was a key,
there was a lock.

If there was a name,
there was a person.


I'm home.

There had to be a lock.

I would find it because
he wanted me to find it.

Q-56. Q-56. Q-56.

And I would find it because it was the only
way I could stretch my 8 minutes with him.

Maybe I could stretch them forever.


I put together a backpack of vital
things I would need for my survival.

An Israeli gas mask Grandma bought me
two weeks after the worst day.

My tambourine to help keep me calm.

Binoculars, obviously.

I had to travel light
to be as quick as possible.

My expedition journal.

My father's father's camera.

A Brief History Of Time, by Stephen
Hawking, that my dad used to read to me.

Cell phone.

Fig Newtons, which I love.

The key, obviously.

And my father's message
to not stop looking.

And I wouldn't, not ever.




Where you going?



I told you, to the comic book convention
with Minch. Be back later.

Lie number five.
Except for the "be back later" part.

Well, leave your cell phone on.
Check in with me every hour, okay?

I mean it.


I didn't know what
was waiting for me.

Although my stomach hurt
and my eyes were watering...

...I made up my mind that nothing,
nothing was going to stop me.

Not even me.

First up, Abby Black,
Fort Greene, Brooklyn.


Because public transportation
makes me panicky, I walked.

I've always had a hard time
doing certain things.

The elevator works, genius.

I know, retard.

But the worst day
made the list of things a lot longer.

- Old people...
- Ah!

...running people...


...tall things...

...things you can get stuck in.


Loud things.

- Screaming, crying.
- Aah!

- People with bad teeth...
- Ha-ha-ha!

...bags without owners, shoes without
owners, children without parents...

...ringing things, smoking things,
people eating meat...

people looking up.

Towers, tunnels, speeding things...


...loud things, things with lights,
things with wings.


Bridges make me especially panicky.

THOMAS: Come on, try.
OSKAR: I can't try.

If you don't try, you'll never know.

- So try.
- Don't be disappointed with me!

Come on. Take your juice.

You know, Grandma brought me
to these swings.

My favorite...

...was one, two...

...the third from the right...

...because I thought it would go higher
than any other one.

So when everyone had gone home...

...I'd swing.

It was just me and the swings.

I'd do a lot of thinking up here,
especially when I learned how to pump.

I would go as high as I could go...

...until I couldn't go any higher...

...and then I would jump.

Ah! And for a moment,
I would feel as free as a bird.

You should give it a whirl, Oskar.

It might change the way
you look at things.

It's not safe.


You don't have to jump.

Can we go home now?


Fort Greene.

Fort Greene.

Fort Greene!

Fort Greene! Fort Greene!



ABBY: What are you doing?
- Hello. My name is Oskar Schell.

Did you know my father,
Thomas Schell?

- You are Abby Black?
- Uh, yeah.

I'm sure people
tell you this constantly...

...but if you look under
"incredibly beautiful" in the dictionary...

...there's a picture of you.

Abby, I'm trying to say something here.

- What are you doing?
- Would it be okay if I came in?

- Now is really not a good time.
OSKAR: Why not'?

I'm in the middle of something.

I'm going upstairs to get this done.

- Me too.
WILLIAM: And you can do whatever...

What kind of something?

- Is that any of your business?
- Is that a rhetorical question?


I had to get in there.

I'm extremely thirsty!

Lie number seven.

What do you want to drink?

Iced coffee with half-and-half, please.

You coming?

I love this.

- So did I.
- How much do you know about elephants?

Hardly anything.

I know quite a lot.

Loxodonta Africana.

There's this woman who spent
the past 10 years in the Congo...

...making recordings of elephant calls
to learn how they communicate.

Abby! Where is everything?

This past year, she started to play them
back to the elephants.


What's fascinating
is that she played back...

...the call of a dead elephant to family
members, and they remembered.


They approached the Jeep,
the speaker.

I wonder what they were feeling
when they heard those calls.

I don't know.

WILLIAM: I'm walking out of here. I will
call you back in 15 minutes, all right?

Did they cry?

Only humans can cry tears,
did you know that?

Even the elephant
in the picture is crying.

It looks like it, but it was probably
manipulated in Photoshop.

Don't cry.


WILLIAM: Hey, Bob, how are you?
I'm great, I'm great.

How's the family? Awesome.

We're awesome, we're doing great.

So listen. Meet me at the office
at 3:00, okay?

- Who's that?
- My husband.

You must think this is very odd.

Oh, I think a lot of things are odd.

People tell me I'm very odd all the time.

I got tested once to see
if I had Asperger's disease.

Dad said it's for people who are smarter
than everybody else but can't run straight.

Tests weren't definitive.

Are you sure you didn't know him?
Thomas Schell?

He was in the building.

In 9/11.

I'm trying to find a lock for this key
that was in the envelope...

...that once belonged to my father.

I'm sorry, I don't know anything
about the key or your father.

Can I borrow that?

You're welcome to it.

I thought you really liked it.

Lots of things will be different
around here.

Can I kiss you?


You're a sweet boy, but I don't think
that would be a good idea.

Can I take your picture
so I can remember you?



How was the comic convention?

Were you there the whole day?


Can you unlock the door, please?

Oskar, can you open the door, please?



Do you hear me, Oskar?
Let me in, please.

Oskar, please, let me in.

Why do you wanna come in?

To tell you that I love you.

was hoping you would be home.

I don't know if you
heard about what happened...

...but I wanted you to know
I'm okay.

Everything is fine. We're still waiting
to find out what we're supposed to do.

It's pretty chaotic. Firemen are
supposed to be coming. What...


WOMAN [ON RECORDING]: Message three,
September 11 th, 9:58 a.m.



MAN [ON TV]: Having survived
what is an extraordinary event...

...the collapse of two towers.

As we said earlier in our report,
110 stories each.

I will tell you that what fell...




Are you all right?


They let you out of school early.


Do you know what happened?


Your mother will be home soon.

You want to just wait here
until she comes?

I guess so.

Do you want me to wait here with you?

It's okay.

You're sure?


You're sure?




Oskar. Oskar!

Oskar. Oskar!

Did your fa... Did your father call'?

Are there any messages
on the machine?

Thank you.


OPERATOR: All circuits...
- Oh!


All circuits are busy now.
Will you please...



All circuits are busy now.
Will you please...



All circuits are busy now.
Will you pl...

Please, please.

Sorry, your call did not go through.
Will you please try your call again?




All circuits are busy now.
Will you please...

Okay. Okay.


Sorry, due to heavy calling, we cannot
complete your call at this time.

LINDA: Mom, I don't know,
I've already told you everything I know.

Hospitals, the police,
and any number I can find.

I only missed one of the calls.

No, I don't want you to come over.

I don't want to make any of this any bigger
for Oskar than it already is.

Uh, I'll call you if I need you, okay?





Hi, you've reached the Schell residence.
Today is Tuesday, September 11th.

Here's today's fact of the day:

It is so cold in Yakutia,
that breath instantly freezes...

...with a crackling sound they call
"the whispering of the stars."

Hi, you've reached the Schell resid...

OSKAR [IN VOICE-OVER]: Now no one will
ever have to listen to them like I did.

Just like nothing ever happened.

Every time I left our apartment,
I became a little lighter...

...because I was getting
closer to Dad.

But I also got a little heavier,
because I was further from Mom.

Why are you looking at me like that?

- Like how?
- Like I did something wrong.

- Do you have your cell phone?
- Right here.

I love you.


Maybe she was waiting
there until I left.

Or maybe she'd already walked away.

Maybe she was just talking too quietly
for me to hear.

Hazelle Black
lived in Hamilton Heights.

...Gonna worry about.

Come on, come on.

If you know the Lord is keepin' you
Why don't you sing and shout?


HAZELLE: Dear God, I just ask that
you would watch over little Oskar...

...and I pray, oh, God,
for a miracle for him.

And that you keep him safe and in
your loving arms as he goes on his way.


Remember, every day is a miracle.

I don't believe in miracles.

Finding what this key fits...

...would be a miracle.

OSKAR: I started with
a simple problem: a key with no lock.

And I designed a system
I thought fit the problem.

I broke everything down
into the smallest parts...

...and tried to think of each person
as a number in a gigantic equation.

It could be for a safe deposit box
or a lockbox.

It's old. Can I try it to see
if it fits something?

But it wasn't working.

Because people aren't like numbers.
They're more like letters.

And those letters
want to become stories.

And Dad said that stories
need to be shared.

That's it, leg, leg, leg, leg!

I had anticipated a six-minute visit
with each person named Black...

...but they were never
just six minutes.

Everyone took more time
than I had planned for...

...to try and comfort me
and make me feel better about my dad.

And to tell me their stories.

But I didn't want to feel better
and I didn't want friends.

Tae Kwon Do, museum,
comic book convention.

I just wanted the lock.

Point two five divided by 65...

...156 days divided by 52
equals three years.

I wasn't getting any
closer to my dad.

I was losing him.

What are you, some kind of asshole?


Shiitake! All of you
in this stupid fukozowa building!


It must be a very confusing day.

I'll call you right back.

Message four, Septem...


Oskar, what's wrong?

Do you promise not to bury me
when I die?

It's the middle of the night, Oskar.

Do you promise not to bury me
when I die?

You are not going to die.

You are going to live a long, long life.

You sure you love me?


Completely sure.

Then put me in one of those
mausoleum thingies above the ground.


Okay, we need to talk.

About my mausoleum?


About what's been going on.

Why do you find it so hard
to talk to me?

In case you haven't noticed,
half the time, you're asleep.

And the other half the time,
you forget the first half.

You're what they call in the law
"in abstentia". An absent parent.

- That was mean.
- Which part?

All of it.

Dad used to say,
"The truth will set you free."

Well, Dad's not here.

- It's just the two of us.
- More like one and a quarter of us...

- ...to be mathematically accurate.
- Don't walk out of this room, Oskar!

- What if I die tomorrow?
- You're not going to die tomorrow.

Dad didn't think he was
gonna die tomorrow either.

- It's not gonna happen to you.
- How do you know what's going to happen?

You know nothing.
You buried an empty box!

That's not the point!
His memory is there!

It's exactly the point. Dad was just cells.
Now they're on rooftops, and the rivers...


...and the lungs of millions of people
who breathe him every time they breathe!

- That's not how it works!
- How do you know how it works?

You don't know anything
about atoms or molecules.

He might even be part of the
dog shit in Central Park!

That is enough. Stop it.

Excuse me, dog feces.

- Stop it!
- But it's the truth!

Why can't I say the truth? Just because
Dad died doesn't mean you can be illogical.

- It has to make sense!
- Not everything makes sense, Oskar!

There's not an answer for everything!

You're just stupid!
It's completely nonsensical!

It's just a box! An empty box!

I know it's an empty box! I know this.

But I did it for me, and I did it for you
so we could at least try...

...and say goodbye to him...

...because he's gone, Oskar,
he's gone and he's not coming back.


I don't know why a man flew a plane
into a building.

I don't know why my husband is dead.

But no matter how you try, Oskar,
it's never gonna make sense...

...because it doesn't,
it doesn't make sense!

Fukozowa you!
You don't know anything!




Why did you lie to me?

What are you talking about?

Where were you?

Where was I when?

That day, the worst day.

You know I was at work.

There was no one here.

I wish I had been.

But it wasn't possible.

You should've made it possible!

I can't make the impossible possible.

I wish it were you.

I wish it were you in the building
instead of him.

So do I.

I didn't really mean that.

Yes, you did.

Go back to bed.




- Hey.
THOMAS: Linda?

Yeah, I've been trying to reach you.
I'm on my way home. I'm coming home.

Thomas, can you hear me?

Yeah, I can hear you.

Ugh, this is unbelievable.
Are you watching this?

Listen to me, other people want to use the
phone, so I don't have too much time.

LINDA: Listen to me, I'm gonna be home
in about 20 minutes.

No, you listen to me.
I'm in the World Trade Center.

What do you... What do you mean,
you're in the World Trade Center?

I had a meeting.
But I'm gonna be okay.

They're telling us to stay where we are.
We broke a window to let in some air.

Where are you?

I'm on the 106th floor.
There's about 50 of us up here.


You... You listen to me,
you come home right now.

It's gonna be fine.
You're gonna be fine.

- No...
- Where is Oskar?

Oskar's on his way home, but you listen
to me, you come home right now.

I will.
I will call and I will tell him.

Tell him what?

I'll... I'll tell him,
ahem, what's happening.

I'll tell him what's happening.
We've been told to wait where we are.

The firemen are on their way.
And we're all fine. We've been told to wait.


- That's what we're gonna do.
- Thomas...


No, it's not okay. Listen to me.

- Yeah.
- Thomas.

You need to listen to me.
Here's what you're gonna do.

You need to find a stairwell.
Do you hear me?

- Yes.
- Find the stairs and you come home.


Linda, honey, I've gotta go.
Other people need to use the phone.

I'm gonna be fine.
You're gonna be fine.

Stop saying that. Just find the stairs.

Linda, listen to me.
You do everything to make my life better.

I want you to know that
I absolutely love you.

I absolutely love you


Don't stop talking to me.
Just stay talking to me.

I'm gonna try to call you again
in a few min...

Please, just stay talking to me...


WOMAN [ON TV]: This is unconfirmed,
but we are getting information...

...from an employee
of United Airlines.

Again, we want to emphasize this is
unconfirmed, but there is speculation.


Grandma, are you awake?


Grandma, please wake up. Over.





I know someone is in there.

I won't hurt you. I'm only 4 years old.

Lie number 64.

Who are you?

I'm Oskar Schell, Grandma's grandson.
Do you know where my grandma is?

Out? This time of night?

Do you know where?
It's kind of a matter of life and death.

Are you a stranger?


I wouldn't go into a stranger's bedroom.

How come you don't speak?

Are your vocal cords
damaged or something?

Or did something scare you to death?


When was the last time you spoke?

Do you ever try to talk?

Why don't you try to say
something to me?

Go on.

"“My name is the Renter."

Do you have a criminal record?

Mm. Maybe you hurt people for a living?

Well, what's your story then?

I had to tell someone.
I couldn't keep it a secret any more.

Can I tell you my story?

My father died at 9/11.

After he died, I wouldn't go
into his room for a year...

...because it was too hard
and it always made me wanna cry.

But one day, I had completely heavy
boots and I went into his room anyway.

I miss doing Tae Kwon Do with him
because it made me laugh.

When I went into his closet
where his clothes and stuff were...

...I reached up to get his old camera
with the brown case...

...and I broke a blue vase.

Inside was an envelope
with "Black" written on it.

And I knew that Dad had left something...

...somewhere for me
that the key opened and I had to find.

So I take it to Walt the locksmith...
...I get from Stan the doorman...

Some kind of lockbox.

...For all the five boroughs.

I count there are 472 people
with the last name "Black."

There are 216 different addresses.
Some of the Blacks live together, obviously.

I calculate if I go to two
every Saturday plus holidays...

...minus my Hamlet school play rehearsals,
it'll take me about three years...

...to go through all of them. But that's what I'll do.
Go to every person named Black...

...and find out what the key fits
and what Dad needed me to find.

The very best possible plan.

I divided the people by zones and
I really had to tell my mother another lie.

She wouldn't understand
how I need to find what the key fit...

...that would help me
make sense of things...

...like him being killed by people
who didn't even know him at all!

And I see some people
who don't speak English...

Hazelle Black, who's all prayered up
and spoke to God.

If she spoke to God, how come she
didn't tell him not to kill her son...

...not to let people
fly planes into buildings.

Maybe she spoke to a different God
than them!

I meet a man, who is a woman who is
a man, a woman all at the same time

I didn't wanna get near him/her,
because she/he scared me...

...because she/he was so different.

I still wondered if she had a VJ
or peniscillin, but what does it matter?

What would this place be like
if everybody had the same haircut?

I see Mr. Black, who hasn't heard
a sound in 24 years.

Which I can understand,
because I miss Dad's voice that much.

Like when he would say
"Are you up yet?" or...

Let's go do something.

I see the twin brothers
who paint together.

And there's a shed that just has
to be a clue, but it's just a shed!

And Astrid Black,
who has the same drawing...

...of the same person
over and over and over again!

Boris Black, the doorman, who was once
a schoolteacher in Russia...

...but now says his brain is dying.
Ramos Black, who has a coin collection...

...but doesn't have enough money
to eat every day!

Alan Black has a view of Gramercy Park
but not a key to it...

...which he says is worse
than looking at a brick wall.

I feel like I'm looking
at a brick wall...

...because I tried the key
in 148 different places...

...but the key didn't fit
and open anything Dad needed me to find.

So that I'd know without him
everything is all right.

Then let's leave it there.

I still feel scared every time
I go into a strange place.

I'm so scared I have to hold myself around
my waist or I think I'll just break apart!

But I never forget what I heard him
tell Mom about the Sixth Borough:

That if things were easy to find...

They wouldn't be worth finding.

But I'm still scared every time I leave
home, every time I hear a door open.

And I don't know a single thing
that I didn't know when I started...

...except I miss my dad
more than ever...

...even though the whole point
was to stop missing him at all!


It hurts too much.

Sometimes I think I might do
something really bad.




Like you to what?

No way. Absolutely not. No, no, no.

Sure. Next Saturday, 7 a.m.

I got there 23 minutes,
37 seconds early just in case.

I didn't know if I
wanted him to be there.

I didn't even know
if I didn't want him to be there.

I'd give it the day to find out.

If you're coming with me,
there are rules.

You are allotted two bathroom breaks,
one 19-minute stop for eating.

And sightseeing is strictly prohibited...

...although sites of historical merit
may be noted.

Also, there's a list of 15 simple questions
about yourself I'd like you to answer.

Come on.

Rule number four is keep up.
I can't stop and wait every two minutes.

Jean Black is in Zone H,
map grid AQ-16.

It's in the Rockaways, 11.3 miles.
This way.

I don't take the train. It's not safe.

It's an obvious target.
All public transportation is.

You can get blown to pieces
by people who don't even know you.

Oh, no.

He said, "I can't walk that far."

He said if I wanted him to go with me, it
would have to be on the bus or a train.

And the train was a lot faster.
And he wrote:

"Anyway, there's nothing to be
afraid of." To which I said:

It's easy for you to say!

Which actually... it wasn't.

"Think about nothing."
That's an oxymoron, like, "now, then."

An oxymoron is when two words
contradict each other.

My father and I used to have
oxymoron wars.

Seriously funny. Sah!

Deafening silence. Fwa, fwa!

Original copies.


Found missing!


"Student teacher"?

Liquid gas.

Clearly confused.

- Living dead!
- Oh!

"Almost exactly."

Genuine imitation.

- Accidentally on purpose.
- Aah.

Jumbo shrimp.

And even though
he never said a word...

...for the first time since Dad died,
I felt like I had someone to talk to.



No one's there.

Ring it again and I'll kill you!

OSKAR: What are you doing?
MAN: Get out of there!

Hey, you!

What are you doing with that camera?


So how come you stopped talking?

I did some extensive research.

You know, it's medically impossible
to stop talking...

...unless your vocal cords
are taken out or cut...

...or diseased with carcinoma
of the larynx or something.

It said, "Otherwise,
it is a hysterical reaction..."

...to a singularly traumatic event...

...in which the person makes
a psychological decision not to speak...

"...because speaking would
re-create the event."

Just thought you should know.


Wait! I can't cross this!
The bridge isn't safe.

I might fall through.

I can't read what
you're writing from there.

He wrote, "if you cross the bridge,
I'll tell you my story."

Wait for me! Don't go too far!
Wait for me!

He also wrote,
"Let's take a break and we'll talk."

We can't! We only just started.

Wait here.

Don't leave me!


Did you hear me?

There's no one here!


You promised not to leave me.

What's he saying?

Okay. Uh...

He's saying,
"I have lived in many places..."

...but I was born in Germany.

After the war, I got married.

There was a child,
but I was too afraid to be a father.

When I was a young boy,
I was in a bomb shelter with my parents.

"A bomb exploded,
and they were both killed."

Is that why you stopped talking?

I'll get you a soda, kid.

Is that when you stopped talking?

I want you to come with me
from now on.

And he shrugged the way Dad did.

I loved that.



A month of Saturdays and Sundays
he'd come with me...

...and we'd seen 37 more Blacks.

No, no, no!

You have to watch what you're doing.

Cassidy Black doesn't live in Glendale.
She lives in Woodhaven.

Here, let me help you.

Aurelia Black lives in Whitestone.

Baz Black lives in Flushing.

Bea Black lives in Rosedale.

B.G. Black lives in Sunnyside.
Got it?

Tomorrow we can make it
to Amara Black...

...in zone JJ, map grid AN-50,
Mill Basin.

Rule number seven,
nothing gets in the way of the search.

Hello, my name is Oskar Schell.
My father...

Wrong way!

Enjoying that?

You know, I don't say anything when you
walk too slowly because you can't help it.

And I don't say anything when you go
to the bathroom three times an hour...

...because I know you need to.

But you could eat a little faster!

OSKAR: It was James Black,
Don Black, Amos Black...

...Guthrie Black,
and all three Ben Blacks.


We're not finished.

Hey, guys, I got a wife and kid
to get home to.

Please! Just give me a minute.



Ben Black.

Guthrie Black.

Amos Black.



Do you really expect me
to go out there and see what I...

Hey, kid, you need a master key.


I can't!


If I ask you a question,
will you tell me the truth?

Even if it will hurt me?

Do you think the key fits a lock?


I mean really?

And do you think we'll find the lock?

I'm not so sure either.

There's something I've got to show you.

I couldn't be sure,
so I didn't say anything.

But I felt it all the time.

The way he walked,
the way he shrugged his shoulders...

...the way my grandmother
wouldn't talk about him.

He must be my grandfather.

My mom is out.

This way.

You can sit on my bed.

I printed these out from the Internet.


This is probably him.

Or it might be him.

He's dressed like he was.

When I magnify it until the dots are so big
it stops looking like a person...

...sometimes I can see glasses on him.

Or I think I can.

Probably the other kids
see their dads too.

This is what I want to show you.


On the worst day, my dad left six messages
on this answering machine.

No one else
has ever heard them but me.

Especially not her.

The first message was at 8:56.

I was still waiting to be let into school.

I was playing with
Minch, wasting time.

Are you there? Hello?

I just tried the office,
but no one was picking up.

Uh, listen, uh, something's happened.
I'm okay.

They're telling us to
stay where we are.

The second message was at 9:12.

I was in class by then.


Okay, so, you take the beautiful,
magical parallelogram...

...and you'll cut it into two beautiful...

It's me again.


Sorry, look,
I was hoping you would be home.

I don't know if you heard
about what happened...

...but I just wanted you to know
that I'm okay.

Everything is fine. We're still waiting
to find out what we're supposed to do.

It's pretty chaotic.
Firemen are supposed to be coming. What...


The third message was at 9:58.

A bunch of us were walking home
with Minch's mom...

...who said something was happening,
but didn't say what.

I stopped at a deli at the corner of
92nd and Broadway to get a Juicy Juice.

I know I was there at that exact time
because I saved the receipt.

It had the time on it.






I have to play you all of them.

The fourth message was at 10:07.

Given that the average walking speed for
a child my age is 4.4 feet per second...

...and that it was 9 minutes
between those two messages...

...I calculated that I walked 2376 feet...

...putting me in front of
the United Church on Broadway.

I know this because
I went back and measured.

It's me.


I was hoping you were home.

I really, really wanted to talk to you
I wanted to explain to you...


Wait, wait, no, no, I'm just gonna be
another minute, I'm sorry.

I can't use the phone for very long.

So I wanted to tell you...

...how much I love you.

I wanted to tell you
how much I love you.


The fifth message was at 10:17.

I was talking to Stan the doorman
when Dad left this.

Are you there?

Are you there?
Please, pick up if you're there.


There's one more message.
The sixth message.

Ten twenty-seven.



Hey! Wait a minute!

What are you doing?

Who said things
should be getting better?

So that's it?


Unh! You wanna go, so go!

I always knew you were my grandfather.

But if you think we'll miss you after you
go now, don't worry, because we won't!

In fact, I should be saying thank you!

My dad was the greatest dad in the world
because you were the worst!

My dad went to
Bronx Science High School...

...where he was manager of the baseball
team and science editor of the paper!

When he graduated, he went to Rutgers,
where he majored in biochemistry.

He met my mom in a bookstore,
and he asked her to marry him...

...in Norwalk, Connecticut. And every
summer, we'd go back to Toby Pond...

...and he would ask her
to marry him again.

The day I was born, he pressed leaves
between wax paper...

...and they still hang in the bedroom
window. He wanted to be a scientist...

...but he became a jeweler
to earn money for our family.

He loved the smell of gasoline.
He hated tomatoes.

He never talked to me like I was a kid.

So, in a way,
your boots are heavier than mine.


WOMAN: Hello?
- Um...

Hello. My name is Oskar Schell.

Oskar? This is Abby Black.

Are you there? Hello?


It's Oskar Schell! I'm here!

Oskar, you've grown.

- Let's go.
- Where are we going?


I don't take rides from strangers.

That's a good rule,
but we're not entirely strangers.

Get in.

I told you when you were here before
I didn't know anything about the key.

But you do.

Well, my husband...

...ex-husband, had the estate sale
you mentioned...

...so I think you should talk to him.

Where's your ex-husband?

At work. I'm gonna take you to him now.

On Sunday night?

It's Monday morning in Japan.


Okay. He said you should
come right up.

32nd floor.

Aren't you coming?

I'll wait here.

Good luck.

Come in.



What can I do for you?
What's going on?

Do you know my father?

Your father? Who's your father?

Thomas Schell.

I don't think so.
I don't know any Schells.

He died at 9/11.

- Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.
- I found an envelope with your name on it...

...and I thought it was your wife,
who I know now is your ex-wife...

...but she didn't know
anything about it...

...and there was a man
yelling from the other room.

- What do you know about my father?
- When was this?

Three months and 17 days,
eight hours...

...16 minutes,
11, and now 12 seconds ago.

And tonight, at 7:42:46 p. m...

...I found a newspaper clipping where
my dad had circled "not stop looking"...

...and I found a telephone number
on the back.

And the number was for Abby Black.

That was me. At the house.

I was moving out.

- I know.
- Hm.

What was so special
about the envelope?

Can I see that?

Was there anything written
on the envelope?

It said "Black."

And did you find it in a blue vase?


I don't believe it.

This is truly the most amazing thing.

I have been looking for this key...

...for more than a year.

I've spent months trying
to find the lock that it fits.

- Then we've been looking for each other.
- What does it open?

A safe-deposit box.

What's it got to do with my dad?

With your dad?

I found it in my dad's closet, and since he's
dead, I couldn't ask him what it meant...

...so I had to go find out for myself.

Well, uh...

...my dad passed away too.

A couple of years ago.

He, um...

He went in for a...

...checkup and, um... Ahem.


...next thing you know,
doctor says he has two months to live.

I needed to figure out what to do
with his things, his books, his furniture.

- Didn't you want to keep them?
- I didn't want any of it.

I had an estate sale.

My father and I weren't
exactly close.

He spent his last couple of months
writing to everyone...

...cousins, business partners,
people I'd never heard of.

He wrote about all the things
he wanted to do but never did...

...and all the things he did do
but didn't want to.

Shared all the things
he never shared with me.

[VOICE BREAKING] You know, all the
things that I wanted to know about him.

Do you need a hug?

I'll be okay, thanks.

Didn't he write a letter to you?


Yeah, but I was afraid to open it.

I would have been extremely curious.

Well, my wife told me
I was being ridiculous.

- Childish.
- But you were his child.


I was afraid it was gonna be
some sort of confessional.

I was hoping he would tell me
he was sorry...

...or that he loved me.

Or something personal about us,
but he didn't.

At the end of the letter, he says:

"There's something that I want you
to have in the blue vase..."

...on the shelf in the bedroom.

"I think you'll understand why
I wanted you to have it. ".

But I had sold the blue vase!
Or I...

Actually, I gave it away to your dad,
I guess, before I'd opened the letter.

So that's why I've been trying to find it.

You met my dad?

I guess so.

Do you remember him?

Uh, he mentioned something
about an anniversary.

OSKAR: September 14th.

WILLIAM: And that he had a surprise
planned for your mom.

Happy anniversary.

Something about a fancy restaurant.

His tuxedo.

Without the key, I was stuck.

That's why you needed to find my dad.

But I didn't know how to find him.
I didn't even know his name.

For a few weeks, I'd wander over
to my dad's neighborhood...

...hoping that I'd bump into him.

I put up signs saying that the guy
who got the vase at the estate sale

...at 75th Street,
please come contact me.

But that was a week after...

well, you know, September 11th

and people were putting up
posters everywhere.


...you don't have to look any more.

I'm sorry, I know you've been looking
for something and this isn't it.

It's okay.

Let's you and I go to the bank.

We'll find out what it is together,
we'll share it.

You're nice. But no, thank you.

Hey, you're gonna be
all right there?

Can I tell you something
I never told anybody else?


On that day, they let us out of school
basically as soon as we got there.

I walked home.

My friend told me he would call, so I went
to look at the answering machine.

There were all these messages.

From your friend?

From my dad.

He was in the building.

But there's something
I've never told anyone.

Not anybody else, not anybody ever.

The phone rang.


Oh, God.


I couldn't pick up the phone.
I just couldn't do it.

It rang, and rang, and rang,
and I couldn't move.


I wanted to pick it up, but I couldn't.
I just couldn't.

The answering machine came on.
There was a beep.

six, September 11, 10:27 a.m.

Then I heard Dad's voice.

Are you there?

"Are you there?"

- "Are you there?"
THOMAS: Are you there?

"Are you there?"


He needed me and I couldn't pick it up.

I was scared. I just couldn't do it.

"Are you there?" He asked nine times.
I know because I've counted.

And why didn't he say "Anyone"?

"Is anyone there?"
"You" is just one person.

I think he knew I was there.

Maybe he kept saying it to give me time
to be brave enough to pick up.

The longest space is between the third
and the fourth, which is 15 seconds.

Are you there?

You can hear people
in the background crying.

- Are you there?
OSKAR: You can hear helicopters.

Are you there?

You can hear glass breaking.

Are you there? Are you the...


OSKAR:Then it cut off.


Do you forgive me?

Forgive you?

For what?
For not being able to pick up?

For not being able to tell anyone.


Of course I forgive you.

I can't tell you how much better
that makes me feel.

I hope you find what you're looking for.

I've got to go.

Thank you.

What's he doing?






LINDA: Hey, give it to me,
give it to me, give it to me.

It's okay, it's okay, give that to me.

Give it to me, give it to me,
give it to me, it's okay.

Let go, let go, let go.

It's okay, I got it. It's all right.
Let go. Let go, let go, baby.

Let it go, let it go, it's all right.
It's all right, let it go, let it go.

Let it go. It's all right, it's all right,
it's all right. It's okay.

I promise I'll be better soon, I promise!
I'll be normal!

That is the last thing that I would want.
You are perfect.

I tried incredibly hard, Mom. I don't know
how I could have tried any harder.

I know you did.

I know you did. I know you did.

- You don't know.
- I do.

But you really don't know, Mom.

I know how proud your dad would
have been that you didn't stop looking.

Sweetie, do you think I would ever
let you out of my sight?

Do you think I would let
anything happen to you?

I always knew where you were.


You did?

When Stan the doorman told me about
all the phone books you said you needed...

...for a school project on the census,
I knew you were up to something.


The census
isn't for another seven years.

So I went into your room
and I tried to think like you did.

I wanted to understand.

You were snooping on me?

I was searching for you.

I found your Enchanted Forest game
with the list of the Blacks.

I saw your index system
of the five boroughs.


Your CZI?

Collapsible Zone Index.

LINDA: I saw how you used the last
four digits of the phone numbers.

I thought that was clever.

LINDA: That was very clever.

I made my own map.

And I marked up all your zones.

One hundred and four.

216 addresses.

472 people named Black.

LINDA: I made a list of all the people
you were going to see that weekend.

I called the ones
you'd already been to...

...and I went and met the ones
you were going to go see.

OSKAR: You did?
LINDA: Mm-hm.

- All of them?
- Mm-hm.

LINDA: So since my husband's death, my son
has been searching all over the city...

...with a key he thinks might be a clue,
so he's very...

Um... Oh. Um...

Thank you.
Thank you, thank you very much. Um...

So, when he comes,
he took this entire map and he...

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Um... Oh.

Thank you.

Hector Black sure liked to hug.

He hugged me 17 times.

I wanted to get away,
but he just kept on hugging.

And he feels that it's somehow
related to his father's death.

I know, it's sad. It's a sad story.

I liked Elaine Black
and her five noisy kids.



Did you get a drawing?


So when he comes, maybe you guys
could let him sit on that and he could...



And what about Leigh-Anne Black?

She yelled at me to go away.

Yeah, me too.

Whether or not you had
any connection to...


Go. Please, get out of here. Go!

Lona Black had an amazing story.

I thought Lona Black
would burst into tears.

He's gonna be fine. Just a few questions,
that's all he's gonna need.

You sure you're okay with this?

- She was fine when I got there.
- Oh, yeah?


LINDA: I knew how long it would take you to
get from Eleanor Black's in Astoria to...

...Harlan Black's in Bushwick.

I'm really sorry about your father.

- Mom, it's that boy!
- It's that boy!

I think our moms look kind of similar,
don't you?

- So you knew about the key.
- Mm-hm.

I knew you had to go
make sense of things.

And I got to go with you.

You weren't ever worried
I was gonna be raped...

...or killed or strangled or stabbed
or something?

Every hour of every day.


I couldn't breathe until
the door closed.

- Hey.
- I'm home.

I thought only Dad could think like me.

Me too.

So many of them had lost
something or somebody, Mom.

Just like us.

What do you miss about him?

Oh, I miss so many things about him.

I miss how he could tell the weather
just by touching the window.

When he would come
in the house and yell:

"What's everybody doing?"

I miss how he would stick his entire arm
into the coffee beans at Fairway...

- ...because he liked how it felt.
- Ah.

That would make me so angry because
everyone in the store was watching him.

- Were they?
- Oh, I don't know. I don't know.

I miss his voice.

I miss his voice telling me he loves me.

Me too.

- Mom?
- Mm?

It's okay if you fall in love again.
If you want to.


I'll never fall in love for the first time again.
Nobody can be him.


He told me. He said:

"I really love your mother.
She's such a good girl."


I don't tell you I love you
enough times, do I?


Yes, you do.

On, baby.

You do.

Stairs are broken.

You're going to school awful early.

There isn't any school today,
it's Presidents' Day.

I thought that was in February.

They changed it.


OSKAR: I'd written a letter
to the people I'd met.

It said:

"Dear Mister or Missus or Miss..."

...or Abby or Hazelle
or Tommy or Elaine...

...or anybody I'd met
whose last name is Black.


You might remember me.

My name is Oskar Schell.

I came to visit you to see if you could
help me find the lock...

...that fit the key I thought
my father had left me.

Most of you were very helpful
and nice to me.

I want to thank you for that.

And I want to thank you
for the horse ride you gave me...

...and for Taylor's picture
of me and my key.

You might want to know,
the key wasn't meant for me.

It was meant for a Mr.
William Black...

...who maybe needed it
even more than I did.

I was disappointed, obviously...

...but I'm honestly glad
that it's where it belongs.

And I'm even glad
to have my disappointment...

...which is much better
than having nothing.

My dad told me that New York once had
a Sixth Borough that floated away.

They tried to save it,
but they couldn't...

...and it's never coming back.

As much as I want him to...

...my dad is never coming back.

And I thought I couldn't live
without him, but now I know I can.

I think that would
make my dad proud...

"...which is all I ever wanted."

I got the Renter's address
from Grandma...

...and although I wanted to say, "You
selfish butthead," and, "Fukozowa you"...

...I didn't.

I asked him to come home.

"Congratulations, Oskar.

With unbelievable bravery,
and wisdom far beyond your years...

you have solved
Reconnaissance Expedition Number Six.

You have proven both the existence
of the Sixth Borough...

...and your own excellence.

Wherever they now are, the people
of the Sixth Borough celebrate you.

And so do I.

"Now it's time to go home."