The Impossible Movie Review

Inspired by an incredible true story, THE IMPOSSIBLE follows one family’s fight for survival and struggle to reunite through the deadly Indian Ocean Tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 and the chaos that ensued directly after.

Naomi Watts and Tom Holland in The Impossible

Husband and wife, Henry and Maria (played terrifically by Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts) and their three sons choose an exotic location to vacation during the holidays.  The day after Christmas when relaxing poolside, an unexpected tidal wave comes roaring through consuming everything in its path, destroying miles of land.  Immediately, the family is separated. Henry and the two youngest hold onto one another diving into the pool. Maria gets swept away into the mess getting banged, bruised and cut through every piece of debris imaginable.  When she finally is able to raise her head above the rapidly moving water, she sees her eldest son Lucas (an amazing emotional portrayal by Tom Holland) fighting to stay afloat nearby.  And so the tragic adventure begins.

Tom Holland in The Impossible

The survival doesn’t stop after the tsunami comes through but now the family members must find help, medical attention and most importantly each other.  THE IMPOSSIBLE is edited in a way to follow each family member separately through the chaos.  Throughout the story we are treated to the beautiful attribute of human kindness.  People of all races and cultures come together to help one another.  Each time a reunion is made, it is, as the title suggests, near impossible not to shed a tear. Through the mess of pain and suffering, Maria manages to teach her son the importance of helping others in need, which is at the heart, what really make THE IMPOSSIBLE work so well.

Ewan McGregor in The Impossible

The special effects that brought to life one of histories most damaging natural disasters is nothing short of amazing.  The entire sequence is breathtaking, that will leave the heart pounding out of your chest as you hope and pray that Maria and her son Lucas survive this mess.  The entire scope of the location is magnificently real, as our heroes track through swamps, broken trees, destroyed buildings and an over crowded local hospital.

Director Juan Antonio Bayona treats the events with respect.  Providing a tender eye at the helping humanity through such tragedy, the viewer is able to immerse themselves into the situation.  All the supporting actors and especially our central family led by McGregor, Watts and Holland, give genuine performances full of so many real emotions that one can’t help but root for everyone involved.  Without going through the harsh tragedy of it all, no one can truly understand each individual story.  But the powerful performances sure help us get closer.

Naomi Watts and Tom Holland in The Impossible

In case you don’t know the story, I will be brief in my criticism as it mostly happens as the film is nearing its 107 minute runtime.

Other than a symbolic choice that seemed out of place in an otherwise fairly straightforward narrative, the much needed sense of danger that the first half of the film provides so well, quickly diminishes as the story progresses.  There is still a worry and concern that is prevalent but the film begins to breath too deeply in the family’s search for one another.  I couldn’t help feel as though tension and drama was forced to stretch the film out slightly longer than necessary.  Nevertheless, THE IMPOSSIBLE is highly recommended that I’m sure most audiences will love if they give it a chance.

In reality, thirteen countries were affected by the Tsunami with over a quarter of a million people killed.  Ultimately,THE IMPOSSIBLE is not a hollywood natural disaster film but rather a heart felt, harrowing look at human nature and the inspirational story into a specific family in a certain area during the mayhem of a world wide catastrophe.

OVERALL 3.5
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