Directed By: Juan Antonio Bayona
Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland
Tag line: "Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit"
Trivia: The crew filmed partially on location at the actual resort, since rebuilt, where the Belon family was vacationing when the tsunami hit
Based on a true story, The Impossible, a 2012 film directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, follows a young family as they struggle to survive one of the 21st century’s worst disasters, the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia on Dec. 26, 2004.
Henry Bennet (Ewan McGregor) and his wife Maria (Naomi Watts), along with their three sons, Lucas (Tom Holland), Tomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast), are spending the holidays in Thailand, relaxing at a beautiful seaside resort. But their peaceful vacation becomes a living nightmare when a tsunami strikes, devastating the entire country and leaving thousands dead in its wake. Maria and Lucas, who were separated from the rest of the family, are taken to a makeshift hospital, where Maria is treated for several life-threatening injuries. Henry, meanwhile, who was able to save Tomas and Simon, begins a frantic search for his wife and eldest son, despite the fact he has absolutely no idea where to find them.
The Impossible is visually stunning, not just in its depiction of the tsunami itself, but also the manner in which it follows Maria and Lucas as the water sweeps them away, a sequence that is, without a doubt, the movie’s most harrowing (fighting against the driving current, the two try desperately to reach one another, dodging obstacles such as tree limbs and automobiles in the process). Yet equally as impressive as the film’s depiction of this natural disaster is the family at the center of it all. Ewan McGregor delivers a heartfelt (and sometimes heartbreaking) performance as the father searching high and low for his wife and son, and as Maria, Naomi Watts has never been better, brilliantly conveying the pain and suffering her character endured throughout the entire ordeal (the scene where Maria and Lucas make their way to dry land, revealing, for the first time, the extent of Maria’s injuries, is unforgettable).
Ignored by both the Academy and the Golden Globes (it garnered only a single nomination from each, for Naomi Watts as Best Actress), The Impossible is a film that deserved more accolades than it received. Aided by the superb performances of its two leads, it is a deeply disturbing, yet ultimately rewarding motion picture that will linger in your mind for days.