I try to stay away from descriptions of the movies coming up on my list, but I vaguely knew that The Impossible was about a tidal wave. In this film, a tourist family is vacationing in Thailand for Christmas and is caught in the 2004 tidal wave that devastated Thailand and other locations connected to the Indian Ocean.
Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons are given a short introduction that gives a small foundation of who they are as a family and a little of who they are as individuals. There is a quietness in the beginning of the film that forebodes the events coming up. The tsunami hits pretty quickly into the film and the scenes that follow don’t hold back. The intensity of the raging waters is matched by the ferocious survival instincts of the family.
It is hard to give a synopsis of this film because I would really like to not spoil it. I will simply say that people get split up very easily in the chaos of an emergency situation and finding each other again is almost as terrifying as the disaster itself. The Thai people carry the wounded, clothe the naked, and rush strangers to overflowing hospitals in the backs of trucks.
The acting is phenomenal. There are sequences that are a little drawn out and melodramatic, but the intensity of the film calls for that. The brief moments of relief are a breather, but really I did not breathe properly or stop crying until the credits were over.
Is The Impossible the best made film? No. The acting is either excellent or acceptable. The editing and therefore storytelling is good for the most part. The melodrama gets a bit much and can be frustrating. Despite all of that, it is a really good view into a disaster situation and how it affected this real family, whom the story is loosely based around. I have been a huge fan of McGregor since he was in Star Wars and I was very happy when I found out he was in this film.
If you have the time and the emotional stamina, I would highly recommend this film. Come prepared with tissues and a shoulder to cry on.