BY CHRISTIAN MCLAIN
(Spoilers ensue, although the trailers reveal many of them)
THE IMPOSSIBLE, an emotionally, compelling film based on the true story of Maria & Henry Belon (Bennett in the film) who's family was swept away while vacationing in Thailand, amid the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami--the worst tsunami on record.
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) and written by Sergio G Sanchez (The Orphanage), this film starts rapidly, briefly but thoroughly establishing the primal nature to survive, the instinct to nurture, the uncompromising spirit to seek & find, the courage to aid and the will to stay alive.
Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Ring) stars as Maria Bennett, mother of 3, who is a former doctor that has taken hiatus to raise her family. Watts, nominated for a Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this role, delivers an enveloping performance that pulls empathy from you and makes you consider your own will during such a disaster.
Ewan McGregor (Salmon Fishing in Yemen, The Ghost Writer) plays the husband, Henry Bennett, who also delivers a well-rounded performance with an unforgettably moving scene of emotion of complete helplessness among will.
The family is poolside, Maria reading a novel near her eldest son Lucas, played by Tom Holland, while Henry is playing with the two other children in the pool as the tsunami strikes. Separated by the large wave, Maria spots her eldest son from afar struggling to stay afloat against the current and leaves a tree she has cling onto. As they are whisked farther into land, stems from trees punctures Maria's leg leaving her severely wounded, as debris knocks her briefly unconscious. Her son, Lucas, leaves his tightly clinched tree to save his mom and as the waves subside, they quickly realizes what has happened, the damage that has been done, and that they are all alone. Their journey consists of Maria being so critically wounded she is in need of emergency surgery in a village that doesn't possess every means to assist her in the short time she may have.
|Source: "the father, with the younger boys..."|
The happiness, the surprise, the journey, and the emotion is available to you in this film. The Impossible reminds you, if not, educates you to the realness of such a tragedy and the destructive violence of natural disasters and the emotional struggle it can bare: pulling you from the plight of the tsunami, the fear of loss to the joy of togetherness, this film's scenes are poignantly placed.
The director, Bayona, gives you a look into yourself as you are moved by the unquestionable gesture of those who may have little means but comes to the aid and rescue of those who have not. Constantly being shown that although there lies the truth of those who can only do what they can, among that lies the strength of hope that gives you the will to hold on.
Great performances from Watts and McGregor to the young child actors, this film delivers. Whether you have children, brothers or family members of any sort this film brings the emotion out of you.
Released in 2012, The Impossible is still in theaters and is easily one of the year's best.
Highly Recommended. (4 out of 5 luminous points in the night sky)
The Impossible -
Running time: 107 minutes, Rated PG-13 (for intense realistic disaster sequences, injury images and brief nudity)