OH BOY! This was an intense movie! GREAT movie!!! This is The Impossible.
Based on the true story (they make that freaking clear to us, and with good reason), we focus on the Bennetts, a family consisting of a couple, Maria and Henry, and their three young boys, who go to tropical Thailand to celebrate Christmas in 2004. That’s when a devastating tsunami attacks them and everyone else on that area. Maria and her oldest son named Lucas are separated from the rest of them in the process, and both sides are on the mission to reunite with each other, hoping that the tsunami hadn’t taken their lives.
Before I saw this movie, I saw the trailer. HOLY GUACAMOLE! And that was just the trailer! I knew this was gonna be an intense movie, but when I finished it, MAN was it better than I thought! What an amazing movie! I felt so emotional throughout the whole thing!
There are two things that caught my attention. First are the performances. Naomi Watts is an amazing actress (I’m looking forward to her role as Princess Diana coming soon) and Ewan McGregor is always a pleasure to watch on film. Both played a very convincing couple with kids and were able to emote very well, especially Watts’ character who goes through a lot of physical pain. And the boys, I mean WOW! At that age, they were very good! The boy who played the young-teen Lucas, Tom Holland, had acted as the title character in Billy Elliot the Musical (that’s a funny thing, because as I was watching the movie, his face reminded me a lot of Jamie Bell) so he’s had lots of experience in acting. Well, I can say Holland’s performance was unbelievable! I mean… he WAS believable… I mean it was unbelievable that such a young kid could make that performance believable… is that clear or am I just confusing you? The two little boys deserve credit as well, because they did a good job too. All together they played a very convincing family, and it was easy to care about every single one of them. They all managed to pull off very strong emotions, and that’s needed for this kind of film, because the story happens on a shocking event.
The second thing that really caught my attention was the sound mixing. Again, it’s needed for this kind of film, because they’re recreating a real event. If we’re going to see the story from this family’s perspective, you’re going to have to recreate the moment in which the tsunami hits. In the tsunami scene, when the boy and the mother are under the water, we hear a bunch of glass shattering, destroyed buildings, broken branches, strong currents, all that stuff. It all felt real and it was all terrifying, especially when they were under water. I had my hands almost covering my face during the whole thing. But that’s not all. The use of sound in this film throughout the whole film is done extremely well, from the silent noises to the larger noises. At the beginning of the film, we have harsh noises like the turbulence of a plane to give a sense that something bigger and more horrifying is coming soon. This along with the performances was great foreshadowing.
The story is handled with great care. When the tsunami hits and when we see the aftermath of everything, it just makes us realise how horrible and tragic this disaster truly was. Especially since it was just a family who were on vacation and suddenly disaster strikes them. Something like that can really happen, even when you least expect it. The film isn’t about the tsunami itself, but about how this family survived it and are in the search for each other. It kinda makes sense not to give too many detailed facts about the disaster, because it’s in the family’s perspective and they’re just trying to figure out as much as anyone else. The family is the main focus and the story’s told through their perspective, but the film is also aware that the disaster had affected other families and people as well. Lucas goes through that realization: it’s not just about their family. It’s about everyone and how, as human beings, we have to help and take care of each other the best way we can. That’s a theme that goes throughout the film; that of helping out strangers. After the attack, we’re seeing people helping each other out the best way they can, and another example is someone going with the father so that both can help each other look for their families in shelters and hospitals. We see a face of compassion and willingness to help out. We’re all as afraid as each other, no matter what age, gender or nationality. Firstly because we’re afraid to die and secondly because everyone’s afraid to lose anyone they love. And we all want to have as much hope as this family does, even in the most horrible of disasters. That’s why it’s important to help each other out, because we’re all the same.
The Impossible is called like this for a good reason. This family survived (ops. SPOILERS… sorta. They give away the ending, so we already know) and it’s very hard to imagine such thing to happen. It’s almost miraculous. There’s a scene in the film which I found very clever. We hear the family constantly repeat a phrase, “Close your eyes and think of something nice.” Near the end of the film, someone tells that to the mother and we see what she’s thinking of as she closes her eyes. I won’t tell you what it is, but all I can say is that it fits like a glove in this film and I LOVED it.
The Impossible has a very emotional and unbelievable story. They did change a few things from the actual story, like instead of making the Spanish family in the original story, they made their nationalities a bit unclear so that it’s more universal. It makes sense, and they at least acknowledge in the end that the real people went through this experience, so that’s fine with me. With outstanding performances, excellent sound mixing and great use of symbolism and motifs, The Impossible is a powerful film to watch, both terrifying and uplifting. Very well done all together. One of the best movies of the year for me.