When I first heard the premise of this film, I thought it was going to be a typical Hollywood disaster movie. You know what I’m talking about- a glamorization of the tragic events from that dreadful day in 2004. Can you believe it’s been eight years since then?
Thankfully, The Impossible is more than an action movie. It’s a powerful story about the strength of the human spirit. The film tells the real-life harrowing tale of a family’s experience surviving the tsunami while on Christmas vacation. Though it’s based on a Spanish family’s story, the film switched things up and transformed them into a British one. There’s the Hollywood twist ;)
I first saw the film a couple of weeks ago at an early screening, but since reviews are embargoed til opening day, I’ve been chomping at the bit to write my article. Mere words can’t even begin to describe how fantastic this film is and don’t even get me started about the performances. I’m so glad the film is getting some recognition during the awards season. Truly well-deserved.
Based on the trailer (which is tear-inducing on its own) you’d think it’s Ewan McGregor’s film. In actuality, it’s all about Naomi Watts and newcomer Tom Holland who plays the couple’s eldest of three sons. I don’t say this lightly, but that kid is EVERYTHING. For someone so young, his craft is so well developed. Watts, on her part, is equally as compelling. It’s easy for her to turn her performance into a Lifetime movie of the week. Instead, she turns it into an acting tour de force. If she doesn’t get an Oscar nod, it will be one of the Academy’s greatest oversights.
Heading to the theater, I expected myself to be moved. What I didn’t expect was how highly I underestimated the number of times I would have tears coming down my face. Since it was a screening, I tried to keep my composure and hide my tears from fellow critics. After the fifth time, I threw caution to the wind and sobbed like a baby and was proud of it. That said, I quickly ducked out before the lights came on, because I’m sure I was puffy ;)
What impressed me the most about the film, was how director J.A. Bayona masterfully told a story based mostly on the strength of his cast. Sure, some special effects were used, but in the end it was all about the journey to find each other. Even though, you know how the film ends, you were captivated at every moment and on the edge of your seat for the family to reunite. Definitely bring a box of Kleenex for that scene.
As a side note, I never realized the hazards people faced during the tsunami. Being naive, I only thought they had to avoid being drowned. I had no idea that as they were being swept away, they had to navigate their way through all the debris in the water. There’s a scene and a couple of injuries that definitely made me squeamish.
Overall, I highly recommend this movie. Since I saw it, I’ve talked nonstop about The Impossible and the performances by Watts and Holland. If it wasn’t on your viewing schedule this holiday season, definitely pencil in some time. It’s truly inspirational. Naomi FTW at the 2013 Oscars.
Movie Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars