Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland star in one of the most heartfelt movies of the year, The Impossible. Based on a true story, The Impossible chronicles the fate of a tourist family after the tsunami caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake floods Thailand.
Maria Bennett (Watts), her husband Henry (McGregor), and their sons Lucas (Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin), and Simon (Oakley Pendergrast) are spending their Christmas at Khao Lak, Thailand in 2004. The next day, the coast is engulfed by a tsunami caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake. Maria and Lucas are washed away and barely survive. Maria is severely injured, sustaining injuries to her leg and chest. The two of them are found by locals and then transferred to a hospital, where Maria fights for her life. Meanwhile Henry, Thomas, and Simon survive together. But Henry separates from them to search for Maria and Lucas.
The most successful part of this movie, hands down, is the acting. The performance seems 100% authentic; the cast is not acting out the scenes; they are living them. Naomi Watts is exceptional, when she is being dragged through the debris the viewer can tell that she is in pain. Her facial expressions and cries are so genuine anyone watching will cringe a little bit. Ewan McGregor also does a phenomenal job. His performance definitely tugs at the heartstrings, especially when he breaks down on the phone while calling one of his relatives. His tears and emotion are so genuine that it’s hard to believe that he’s acting, he is truly living the part. Last but certainly not least, Tom Holland’s acting is remarkable. Even though this is only his first film, he’s outstanding. From crying at his mother’s hospital bed to the true joy on his face when he reunites a father and son, his performance is truly flawless. The entire cast was stellar, they make the viewer feel as if they are really living the story, not acting, just being. The film is extremely well cast, and it would not have been a success with any other actors.
Also, The Impossible must be praised for its impeccable set. It appeared completely authentic, particularly the water. This is because the tsunami was actually created with a series of water surges as well as digital enhancements. This technique made the waves look realistic and strengthened the plot of the film. In fact, Tom Holland and Naomi Watts spent five weeks filming physically demanding scenes inside of a water tank. Their work paid off because the authenticity of the scenes where they were trekking through the water is unrivaled. Plus, the debris and rubble appeared extremely realistic. It looked just like pictures of actual tsunami wreckage, which is quite a feat. The debris floating through the water looked extremely authentic as well. In fact, there was a car floating in the water with a baby inside crying, which is such a small detail that makes the film all the more heartbreakingly real. Clearly, the set of the movie was impeccable and added to the authenticity of the film.
All in all, The Impossible is a heart wrenching true story that will keep the viewer captivated until the very end. It’s hard not to cry for Maria, Henry, Lucas, Thomas, and Simon as they attempt to find each other amidst one of the greatest tsunamis in history. Overall, The Impossible is an emotional disaster drama that should not be missed.