Film Friday: The Impossible

There are some films that rip your heart out and mend it back together all at once. One of those is the 2012 film The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. To this day, I still believe that The Impossible is one of the most underrated and overlooked films of recent times. Perhaps due in large part to its poor marketing, The Impossible never received much of the recognition and acclaim it deserved. However it still remains a film that, in my opinion, should be seen and appreciated by a much wider audience.

Based on the real life experience of María Belón and her family, The Impossible tells the remarkable story of a tourist family who during their Christmas vacation in Thailand, get caught up in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

The Impossible has an incredible story, even more so when one realizes that it all actually happened in real life. Here is a movie of survival and love. A true tale about the fight to stay alive against all odds and the quest to remain a family, even amongst all the pain and wreckage. The sheer perseverance shown by every single member of the family, along with the countless others affected by such a devastating disaster, truly conveys the strength of the human spirit. Even in the absolute worst possible situations, love and strength prevail. That right there is what makes The Impossible a truly beautiful film.

The other major strong points of the The Impossible were the performances. Naomi Watts is amazing in this film. Though she was at least nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in Leading Role in 2013, I will always argue that she deserved to win that year. I believe The Impossible to be her best performance and there is good reason why. Watts practically carries the film on her back at times. She was raw, with her pain palpable and real with every grimace and scream she lets out. Even in bedridden scenes, Watts fully conveyed the pure agony that afflicted so many in the aftermath of the tsunami. She was incredible.

The rest of the cast was fantastic as well. Ewan McGregor showed that a simple phone call back home can be transformed into a heart-wrenching moment. The sons in the family were some of the best parts of the film as well. The eldest, played by a young Tom Holland, showed incredible bravery as he rose to the challenge of acting as a provider for his family in a harrowing time.

I will warn viewers that the film is extremely graphic. The disaster sequences and scenes of the aftermath of the tsunami are very vivid and may be potentially frightening and disturbing to some viewers. Some of the characters in particular are shown with violent and graphic injuries that can be hard to look at. Again the film is very realistic and intense so I recommend taking that in mind before watching it.

Nevertheless I would still recommend The Impossible. With an inspiring story based on even more remarkable true events, The Impossible is a film that deserves to be seen. The story of the Belón family needs to be witnessed as theirs is only one of many that resulted from the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Even when surrounded by pain, conveyed through violent and intense scenes, a single image stands out in the film. It is that of Maria's hand rising out of the water, an incredible image of her fighting strength and determination to live. Once again love rises above pain. The Impossible helps makes this clear.

On the Ticket Stub Love meter, I give The Impossible 5 out of 5 ticket stubs.

[Article originally published 03/31/2017]

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