One of the deadliest Tsunamis ever recorded in history struck a day after Christmas in 2004, creating waves up to 100 ft tall (30 m) and killing over 200,000 people in countries like Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The latter is the focus of The Impossible, a new film based on a true story by Spanish Director Juan Antonio Bayona (of The Orphanage fame), starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as a couple vacationing in Thailand with their three children when the disaster hits. The family gets separated after the storm weathers and viewers follow the journey of this family as they search in an attempt to re-unite with one another.
Young actor Tom Holland plays the oldest child, Lucas. Although this is a film that centers around his entire family, audiences may focus more on his character than any other in the movie. Lucas starts out as a normal teenager displaying a bit of sibling rivalry towards his younger brother (for being scared of flying) but soon becomes a responsible young adult who looks after his mother and tends to her needs after the tsunami catastrophe leaves her bedridden. The plight that Lucas undergoes during this challenging time makes a man out of him and audiences can see the gradual change and maturity Holland displays so well in his facial expressions and demeanors as the film progresses.
Naomi Watts excels in her performance as Maria, the mother of the three children. Her natural ability to convince the audience of the torment and sufferings her character endures both physically and emotionally is praise-worthy. Such powerful performance should establish Naomi Watts as a strong contender for this year’s Oscar award. Ewan McGregor turns in an emotional performance as the heartbroken father, Henry, who unrelentingly searches for his wife and sons. This is an endeavor that some may consider a fool’s errand, but fate smiles kindly on this family and grants them a miracle that many seek but very few find during such time of crisis.
The story depicts struggles against time and dying for Henry and Maria respectively. Maria tries hard to save her last ounces of breath to stay alive long enough so she can see her loved ones again while Henry races tirelessly against time searching for his family and realizing that their chance of a reunion diminishes with each passing hour if he doesn’t find them soon. This is another disaster film that shows how people come together in tragic times to help one another. It also has one of the best re-creations of the 2004 tsunami. A must see.