Films | Movie Reviews | The Impossible – Film Review

The Impossible – Film Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on January 4, 2013 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Álvaro Augustin, Belen Atienza, Enrique López Lavigne
DIRECTOR – J.A. Bayona
WRITER – Sergio G. Sánchez
CAST – Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland
MUSIC – Fernando Velázquez

The Impossible is the true story of a family that survived the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. It is a tale of grit, survival, empathy and above all love that disasters bring out in us humans, so fragile against the forces of nature.

Theirs is an idyllic family – a happy marriage and three beautiful young boys. They have come to Thailand for Christmas and are just about to sink into its pleasures when the tsunami hits them. The family is scattered like a bunch of straws. The mother Maria (Naomi Watts) and her eldest son Lucas (Tom Holland) are saved by natives and Maria admitted to the hospital for severe injuries. The father Henry (Ewan McGregor) and the two younger children are estranged as Henry begins a desperate search for his family.

Told with a realistic and non-dramatic sleight of hand, The Impossible tells us nothing new we haven’t seen about disaster films. But its joy lies in the sheer heart-warming and serious manner it deals with the events. Unlike most such films, there is no gallantry, only survival instinct, no theatrics only the tension ensuing from a catastrophe, no exotica of deadly nature, no thumping sound score to emphasise every danger and no larger-than-life heroism that we won’t buy. Even its cinematography beautifully captures the mood of trauma without glamorizing or cashing in on the calamity.

Yet, there is a lot of heroism in the massive struggle for survival the family fights. And its understated depiction is what makes the film eminently watchable. This, along with the tenuous insights into human behaviour and character revelations it brings forth.

It is probably the thoughtful and composed nature of the film that brings out the best in its actors. Naomi Watts is brilliant in her portrayal of a resilient and incredibly loving woman that no odds can beat. Then there is the equally dependable Ewan McGregor who gets lesser screentime than Watts but is solid and heartfelt. However, the young Tom Holland as the precocious teenager dealing with very adult situations is the most engaging. Not only is his character relatable but his performance is so fluid it takes us right into the heart of his dilemmas.

The Impossible is a story told without much fanfare. It is a humane story of human strength and struggle bound by a strong love and told with a lot of it. The strength of a mother’s love, the power of the father’s, the resilience of vulnerable children and the brotherhood buried deep inside us that times like these sometimes reveals.


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