The Impossible: Impossible to Forget—Movie

From the first crashing wave to the final hug, “The Impossible” grabs your heart and doesn’t let go. Beautifully acted and magnificently shot, “The Impossible” is, in short, a must-see film.

The struggle to survive, keeping hope when hope is hard to come by and the compassion of strangers (save for one American, unfortunately) is at “The Impossible’s” core. Because it is true, “The Impossible” is more frightening than any horror story. Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona with screenplay by Sergio G. Sánchez  and story by María BelónThe Impossible poster, the film is based on the real-life story of the Belón family who experienced the terror of the December 26, 2004 tsunami that devastated Thailand and ripped the family apart.(It is worth pointing out that the Belóns are Spanish.)

Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor portray Maria and Henry, an English couple on vacation in Thailand with their three sons, Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast), when the tsunami hits.  As the huge waves smash the resort in which they are staying, Maria and Lucas are separated from Henry and the other two boys. That is when the spirit and strength of the human heart kicks in.

Every element about “The Impossible” is nearly sheer perfection.  Since the plight of Maria and Lucas is more harrowing physically, the film spends the most time with them and their ordeal. Through the terrific force of nature that is Tom Holland, we see Lucas grow up before our very eyes as he takes charge of his mother’s care. Naomi Watts so realistically portrays what it means to be a mother even as she is suffering physically and emotionally, she takes your breath away.

Ewan McGregor has less screen time, but he makes the most of every second. As Henry, his joy at finding his two younger sons is tempered by the wholly unacceptable idea that he may never see his wife and oldest son again. McGregor makes you feel what he’s going through without saying much. And the two young actors, particularly Samuel Joslin as Thomas, give amazing performances. They seem very natural and watching Thomas assume the role of older brother will break your heart.

The entire production crew does award-winning work. Naomi Watts’ makeup is extraordinary and there was an audible gasp from my audience when we saw the hole in her leg. The depiction of Thailand during and after the tsunami is phenomenal.  “The Impossible” does such an amazing job of portraying an actual tsunami cutting its way through Thailand, you feel you are experiencing the tsunami as it’s happening. On a purely cinematic level, these scenes are simply astounding. Finally, there is Fernando Velázquez’s score. It would have been easy to go over the top, but his music never does. It’s pitch-perfect.

“The Impossible” will be impossible to forget upon leaving the theatre. That is not a bad thing.

4 nuggets out of 4

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4 Responses to “The Impossible: Impossible to Forget—Movie”

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  2. NAC eye drops Says:

    With all that said, however, “The Impossible” is not without its problems. The script itself is weak, with the dialogue at times feeling forced and trite. Instead of taking the opportunity to try and use the uniqueness of the Belon’s situation to create a meaningful facsimile of what a real family would be forced to encounter in a life-and-death situation, screenwriter Sergio Sanchez drops the ball by sticking with clichés. Also, Bayona’s focus on the victims of the tsunami is too narrow at times. The only victims shown in detail are either Europeans or Australians, while the sufferings of the native Thai aren’t necessarily downplayed, but are merely absent from the story.


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