Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Writer: Sergio G. Sánchez
Based on: María Belón’s story
Cast: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Sönke Möhring, Geraldine Chaplin
Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) are flying to Thailand for their Christmas holidays. Everything is as they had planned – that is until a tsunami hits and splits the entire family up. Lucas and Maria find each other floating close to each other, but Maria is gravely injured. A few natives find them and bring them to the hospital but their adventure is far from over. At the same time, Henry who has found Thomas and Simon sends them to a shelter on their own while he continues his search for Maria and Lucas.
The Impossible is an absolute tear-jerker, and a completely effective one. It’s also perfectly acted and well-paced with a soundtrack that plays on your emotions as much as on their instruments.
There has been a lot of talk about and award buzz for Naomi Watts – which is certainly justified for she was really good in this film. But I thought that the most outstanding performance came from Tom Holland. He pretty much carries the movie and it seems effortless for him.
That is not to say that Ewan McGregor wasn’t good, too [in fact, the scene where he breaks down, I was right there with him, he was so good] and Geraldine Chaplin was also a good surprise (though in a bit of a weird, out of context, much too metaphorical role).
The movie certainly tries to tug on your heart strings. And as I said, it succeeds. Bayona ties it all together and manages to not have it be too much (so everything feels artificial and overly dramatic), except for one scene where I thought things got a bit away from him: when we see Maria’s experience under water (which was a jarring scene worthy of a horror film), it ends with a violin crescendo and her hand coming out of the water in slow motion various times from various angles – that was overkill. It also made me think of zombies.
A case can be made that there are certainly more incredible stories and that maybe the focus shouldn’t be laid on the white tourists, at least not in the first big movie about the events, instead maybe there should be more stories about the natives. But it’s an incredible story and it is well told.
Summarising: If you’re looking for a reason to have a good cry, look no further.