It’s 2004, and the Belon family has decided to spend the Christmas holiday in Thailand. Unfortunately, an awful tsunami strikes the coast, separating the Belons and leading to a harrowing story of survival. The Impossible, written by Sergio G. Sanchez, is based on the true story of a Spanish family. While the film has gotten some flack for turning them into a white, British family, the story’s emotional appeal remains in tact.
Naomi Watts plays mother Belon, Maria, who watches the tsunami’s waves engulf her entire family before reaching her. When she surfaces she soon finds her oldest son, Lucas (Tom Holland), and takes him to safety in a tree. But Maria has sustained some serious injuries and it falls on Lucas to take care of his mother. Meanwhile, father Belon, Henry (Ewan McGregor), has found his two younger sons, Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast), but is determined to find Maria and Lucas at all costs.
The Impossible is an emotionally cleansing film. There are moments of intense happiness but also intense sorrow. And seeing the power of the human spirit is invigorating. It is easy to see what direction the film will go in, but the actors make this a beautiful journey. Tom Holland, especially, shines in his role. Lucas assumes his father and brothers are dead and clings to his dying mother in this foreign land while learning to take care of himself and her.
This is a heartbreaking and powerful film. While some moments feel clichéd, director Juan Antonio Bayona manages to make even those moments feel genuine. So bring some tissues with you to the theater and start the year off by unleashing every emotion possible. You’ll feel very rejuvenated after.
- Movie review: Naomi Watts makes tsunami drama “The Impossible” astonishing (denverpost.com)
- The Impossible – review (standard.co.uk)
- Swept Away by “The Impossible” (imamovienerd.wordpress.com)