There are films that will tear at your heart and wring you dry and this is one of those films. You will cry with both sadness and happiness as you follow the tale of a family that is trying to survive one of the most devastating tsunamis that south Asia has seen. The title is apt in that it is a seemingly impossible task for a husband, a wife and three kids that are at first torn apart and then find their way back together again. It is a story of how the human spirit and both desire and love can bring a family back together again. This film is visually stunning and yet emotionally horrifying and uplifting at the same time.
The Impossible is a true story drama based on the experiences of the Belón family during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The family is on their way to a Thailand resort in Khao Lak for Christmas. They are your typical family dealing with the typical things, worrying about if stuff was turned off, fear of flights from the kids and so on. They are looking forward to a great time. Once they do land and get to the resort they find that their reservation has been changed and upgraded to a nicer room. They were originally supposed to be on the third floor but now have a great view closer to the beach and pool. This sets the mood for the couple and is exciting for the kids. It is the next day when everything goes wrong.
The next day, Henry (Ewan McGregor) is playing with the two smaller kids Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) and Thomas (Samuel Joslin) in the shallow part of the pool. Maria (Naomi Watts) is reading a book that she keeps loosing a page out of and their other son Lucas (Tom Holland) is walking around the pool. You can hear the gentle waves of the sea and the birds chirping carelessly and then a sudden change. The air becomes still, the sound of the sea drops off and the birds start going inland. Then you hear a crash and a roar as you start to see the trees start to sway and fall. Lucas and Maria stare in disbelief at the trees falling and then they see the first spray of water. Maria yells to Henry to get the smaller children and Lucas dives under the water of the pool as the wave hits. All Maria can do is hunker down and close her eyes as she waits for the wave to hit.
The screen goes black for several seconds to show just what Maria is going through as she is fighting for consciousness. Water is churning everywhere and then as she is nearing the surface you can hear the angry noise of the water and the desperate cries of horror and for help as she is being swept inland. As her head finally clears the water, she grabs a palm tree and hangs on for dear life. It is then that she sees Lucas being swept inland by the water and she dives in after him. It is during that time that she is gouged in her chest and her leg by sticks and debris in the water as she is trying desperately to get to her son. Once they find each other they find something to float on and just hold on till the water finally starts to recede. From then on it is a fight every minute of the film for them to just stay alive.
One of the key defining moments in the film and in the life of Lucas is when they rescue a small boy that is crying. Lucas wants to save his mom and thinks that stopping to help will cause her to die. It is not till much letter in the film that he is rewarded by that rescue. Latter he is able to witness the reunion of the child with what is most likely the boy’s father. He sees just how happy they are together and knows that it was indeed the right thing to do to stop and help the child to safety. It is moments like this in the film that pull at the heart strings. Even thinking about that scene now brings a mist to my eyes as I remember just how happy the child was to be with the one that loved him so much. It is for moments like this in the film that it is a must see for everyone.
While Lucas was with his mom and Danial (Johan Sundberg), the child they saved, Henry has managed to keep himself and the other boys alive. They are still at the resort and surprisingly enough are holed up in the very room that they were supposed to have in the first place. Henry is desperate to find Lucas and his wife and will even endanger himself and place his other sons in the care of strangers to do so. He will stop at nothing to find them. At one point in his search he finds that the children have been taken by the authorities and now he must not only search for his wife but now must search for all three children as well. He is emotionally overcome on several occasions and almost gives up in despair. It takes someone letting him use a cell phone as he is falling apart to bring him back to his senses.
This is a film that you will not soon forget. It will remind you of those that you have lost and make you appreciate those that are around you right now. This is a film that will both haunt you and delight you. It might be drama but it is also a horrifying display of what nature can do as well as how caring people can actually be to total strangers. I would highly recommend this film to everyone. It is a film worth seeing with the ones that you love. I would dare say that it would make even the hardest of hearts cry with both sadness and joy. That is how powerful this film and story is.
I give this film a Musing review of