Don't forget the tissues for this tear-jerker

23:55, Feb 05 2013
GRIPPING: Naomi Watts and Tom Holland star in disaster film <i>The Impossible.</i>

MOVIE REVIEW: The Impossible. Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland; directed by Juan Antonio Bayona.

The Impossible is based on the true events experienced by Maria and Henry Belon and their three sons Lucas, Tomas and Simon during the tragic Boxing Day tsunami that hit the coasts of the Indian Ocean in 2004.

As the film opens, the sound of waves to a blank screen becomes increasingly louder until it suddenly hits and the screen changes from showing nothing, to showing the ocean. This technique instantly made me feel anxious and reminded me that what I was about to see, was not a disaster film I am normally used to watching, where some alien race has invaded Earth, or the year 2012 has arrived and the world is crumpling around us. The events of this film, actually happened.

Director Juan Antonia Bayona has created a realistic and uncomfortable film to watch, but it is one I think a lot of people should go make the effort to see, especially if their knowledge of the disaster is limited.

If you are unaware of who Juan Antonia Bayona is, I strongly suggest that you introduce yourself to his previous Spanish horror film, The Orphanage released in 2007, which still sends shivers down my spine when I think of it.

The acting in this film needed to be convincing, and thankfully it was. Ewan McGregor (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Trainspotting) and Naomi Watts (J. Edgar, Funny Games) play parents Henry and Maria.

Their portrayals are heart-breaking and painful to watch. I felt that they both fed on the emotion of how they would react if they were separated from their own families. Watts scored an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Maria and while she does deserve this, I truly believe that Tom Holland who portrays Lucas should have had a nomination nod instead. Holland shows the perfect amount of compelling emotion on screen which makes it hard to believe that The Impossible is his film debut. Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast who play the younger Tomas and Simon are amazing as well, especially during a climactic scene near the end of the film.

One criticism I do have is that the film's focus seemed to be only on how the disaster impacted tourists. While I understand that this film is solely focused on the experiences of the Belon family it seemed to make no attempt to show how devastating the tsunami was to local communities.

Apart from that, The Impossible is an emotional film to watch (definitely bring tissues, do not forget them like I did), with outstanding acting and eye-opening images of a disaster that should not be forgotten.


The Southland Times