My cousin Aimee first saw The Impossible and raved about how it could tear your heart out. A bit skeptical myself, I hadn’t heard much of the film because of it’s poor marketing. However, we all decided to do a movie night and watch it, and I realized that The Impossible is maybe the most overlooked film of the year.
The Impossible tells the true story of a family spending Christmas in Thailand, who are caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Maria (Naomi Watts) and her eldest son are swept one way, while Henry (Ewan McGregor) and the two youngest sons are swept another. The movie focuses on their fight to find one another and reunite their family.
Many critics accused the film of whitewashing, portraying the characters more “white” to appeal to more audiences, since the original family was in fact from Spain. However, I disagree because the actual Maria Belon chose Naomi Watts to play her in the film, and what a perfect choice. Naomi Watts shines in the film and gave the unarguable best female performance I’ve seen all year. She showed so much emotion and pain in a mostly bedridden role. Her scenes were intense and the pain was palpable. I’m glad the Academy gave her some recognition by giving her a nomination for Best Actress, but honestly, she should have won. I know, I know, I love Jennifer Lawrence just as much as the next person, and I can’t say anything bad about Silver Linings Playbook since I haven’t even seen it, but portraying a person with bipolar disorder doesn’t seem like much work compared to Watts’ performance. She was raw and you could feel her pain in every grimace and scream she let out. A+ work.
The film was hard to watch at times and I did close my eyes during many parts. Naomi Watts’ character went through the most it seemed, from being hit by objects underwater, to being dragged through reeds with a huge gash in her leg, and to even throwing up seaweed. Gosh this movie was graphic so I don’t recommend it to young viewers or those faint of heart. However, we all have to remember that this actually happened to a person, actually thousands of people. Just be warned.
The rest of the cast was fantastic as well. Ewan McGregor showed that a simple phone call back home can be turned into a tear-jerking heart-wrenching moment. The sons were surprisingly one of the best parts of the movie. The eldest, Tom Holland, showed incredible bravery as he rose to the challenge as the provider for his mother. Simarily, the two youngest sons were adorable and delivered their lines with painful cuteness.
If there was anything to critique, it would have to be that they kept going back to the scene where Maria is hit with debris underwater, it seemed a bit unnecessary and graphic, but it was forgiven by an incredible and inspiring image of her hand rising out of the water, a metaphor to her fighting strength and determination. The Impossible is a must-see film, that packs pain, heart-break, and joy in one package of amazing emotion.
ALL IN ALL: The Impossible is an intense must-see film with incredible performaces and an inspiring story of a determined family who will tear at your heart.