Review: The Impossible
- Starring: Naomi Watts (King Kong), Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge), Tom Holland (The Secret World of Arrietty) and more.
- Directed by: Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage)
- Synopsis: “Based on a true story, The Impossible is the unforgettable account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. But the true-life terror is tempered by the unexpected displays of compassion, courage and simple kindness that Maria and her family encounter during the darkest hours of their lives. Both epic and intimate, devastating and uplifting, The Impossible is a journey to the core of the human heart.” (-official site)
- Rated: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense disaster, brief nudity, disturbing injuries and mild language.
- Must-Watch Trailer:
On December 26, 2004, one of the worst natural disasters in history hit the shores of Thailand (and surrounding areas) in the form of a massive destructive tsunami claiming the lives of almost a quarter of a million souls. The Impossible is a gripping tale of true determination and strength during that catastrophe and its aftermath that engrosses the audience through frightening sequences, heart-wrenching performances, and touching moments of human strength, compassion, solidarity and love.
Oftentimes it is truth, as opposed to fiction, that presents the greater stories, such is the case with The Impossible. This film keeps the attention throughout every single minute and every moment filled with joy, sadness, anxiety, anticipation, fear and hope. It is a story that is easy to attach and relate to as we follow the journey of a regular family, separated by the horrifying disaster of the torrential tsunami, struggling in search of accomplishing the impossible against all odds: surviving and finding each other alive and well.
The questioned possibility of a joyous reunion lingers in the back of the mind through the entire film as we see the different family members not only fight for hope and for one another, but also do the same for others as they find themselves in positions to help their fellow survivors and heed that call. The message of help and humanity is shown through their individual plights in an unforgettable manner.
I still get chills watching the scene of the wave hit. Watch a shortened version of it below if you wish, for an example of the intensity and impressive performances of The Impossible. Wow.
An impressive cast tells the story through their actions and performances in such amazing fashion. (Congratulations to Naomi Watts for her well-deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.) The entire main cast works together as a unit and is completely believable in their roles. I was actually very impressed by the three young boys Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast whose first full-length live-action feature film is this movie. Their part as the Bennett family sons made this story even more real to watch. (Tom Holland is superb as the eldest of the three boys, Lucas, who faces the fearful aftermath with his mother with such maturity and strength. It is he whom we follow and feel for in the majority of the aftermath.)
Of course, that is not to take away from Ewan McGregor (one of the hardest working men in the movie industry), Naomi Watts and the extras of whom several of them were actual survivors of the 2004 tsunami. The cast completely makes this movie as there is no getting around sympathizing with their characters on screen, their emotional plight and the immense physicality of it as well, especially for Naomi Watts as Maria Bennett. (Although, I will say I would’ve preferred getting to know the characters a little bit more prior to the tsunami.)
Among several scenes that are surprising powerful moments of silence, scenes that show the immense power and destruction caused by the natural disaster and scenes portraying the loneliness and loss, The Impossible demands the undivided attention and dedication of both the heart and the mind. During a time in which several movies give us the story of superheroes with superpowers overcoming immeasurable odds that mere humans cannot, The Impossible celebrates the dedication and triumph of the “regular” human spirit and it does so very well.
Go see it, pack your tissues, and prepare for a journey that takes the intensity and severity of an event that affected thousands on the other side of the world (for many of us) and soberly brings it to where we live straight home to the hearts of viewers. It can be difficult to watch at times and while it is not IN YOUR FACE full of bodies floating in the water everywhere you turn, it is still a touching emotional trip of a movie that is elementally sad, yet terrifically sweet.
A beautiful story that makes you smile and fear, gasp and tear. It is quite impossible to leave this film and not be touched by its story, its cast and its message of bravery, triumph, and more. A respectful presentation and perspective of a horrific disaster that allows the audience to feel the fear and emotions of the entire event and is one of the best disaster movies I have seen in quite some time.
Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars for The Impossible
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
-T, The Focused Filmographer
up next: Movie News Monday!