“The Impossible” is a truly terrifying tale of one family’s struggle to survive the tsunami that devastated the South East Asia coastline and killed over a quarter of a million people in 2004. It’s an emotional ride told with amazingly real shots of destruction and chaos.
Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star as Maria and Henry Belon. They’re vacationing with their sons at a beach resort in Thailand when the tsunami hits on Boxing Day. The family is separated and must overcome injuries and impossible odds to find each other.
Rarely do I find myself having a physical reaction to a film. But, watching the waves crash and the characters get swept away, it was so intense, so real, I found myself gasping for breath. The sounds of water crashing and shouts intermixed with a black screen and silence were chilling. The visuals and camera-work were all incredible and put you in the heart of the devastation.
The story mainly follows Watts’ Maria. You feel her fear when she can’t find her family, her brief relief when she finds her oldest son Lucas (Tom Holland), and her pain when she slices open her leg and has to climb a tree with a broken leg.
Even once you know that the other half of the family is safe, it’s of little comfort because you know they still have to find each other in the midst of utter pandemonium. Even if you know how this true story ends you sit nervously on the edge of your seat waiting and wanting a happy ending.
Besides the beautifully intense storytelling, I was equally impressed by the acting of the three leads. Watts, McGregor, and Holland all give gripping performances that aren’t easily forgotten. I found myself in tears on more than one occasion. And not just a single tear quickly wiped away, but I blink and get streams from both eyes.
I am glad I saw this film. But as good as it was, I never want to see it again. Once was more that enough. It’s a heart-wrenching story told in an incredibly effective way.
“The Impossible” is a gritty, raw, and moving story about the perseverance of the human spirit. It’s about survival and holding on to hope against all odds. If you’re looking for an intense roller coaster ride, followed by overwhelming joy, seek out this film.