In 2004, a tsunami struck the coasts of the Indian Ocean. Many countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and India had cities that were briefly sunk under the wave. The catastrophe caused hundreds of thousands of deaths with homes destroyed and almost everyone separated. The first couple of days are always chaos as survivors struggled to find medical care and look for their lost ones. It would take years for some to be found, and some are still lost today. The biggest disaster of it all was that there was no way of predicting this. Earthquakes are something that we have yet to crack, and one the ground shakes; there is little that we can do.
Within the mess of tragedy, family can bring the most comfort. The feeling from their emotions around one can feel as good as the first hug they receive from mom. After the wave, a lot of those survivors just needed another to know that they’re not the only one.
The story of one family’s survival is told in The Impossible. This is the first movie I’m aware of about the 2004 tsunami disaster, and I’m glad it was taken in a serious manner. Hollywood likes to treat these big disasters like volcanoes and storms as epic blockbusters; but The Impossible is taken more as heavy wave of emotion.
The movie is based of the true story of the family of Maria (played by Naomi Watts) and Henry Belon (played by Ewan McGregor) (who were actually Spanish, but are made to be English in this adaptation). Their family, which includes three boys, is down in Thailand for the Christmas holiday. They expected to spend a quiet vacation in paradise. Given the lovely image of Southern Asia, who wouldn’t? But after a wonderful evening of setting off floating lanterns, the next morning wouldn’t be so merry.
The family is enjoying a dip in the pool when they see the tsunami coming at them. All they could have done was to brace themselves. After the crash, the mother and her oldest son Lucas are seen floating down the country trying to find higher ground. Once the waters recede, Maria seems to be the most injured with blood gushing out of her right leg and a deep wound in her left breast. Though mother and son are safely found and taken to a hospital, Henry and the two youngest, Thomas and Simon, are still seen at the site of their hotel, looking for the rest of the family. It would take looking into many shelters and hospitals to bring this family back together.
Let me get this out of the way; the tsunami has to be the most accurate and well-created disaster waves in cinematic history. When the wave was coming at me, part of me held on tight to my armrest, not wanting to become swept away.
The bulk of the story relies on the powerful acting of Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. There is not one moment where they go wrong. Both of these actors look like a wreak (in a great way) through out the movie, and they always look like they need to drag themselves to find each other. Naomi Watts especially gives a great performance, playing mostly from a hospital bed.
While this majority carries most of the movie, I will admit that even as accurate as it was, I got too overwhelmed by the gross hospital scenes. I’m aware that many people were hurt, but part of me felt that the filmmaker found a lot of the pain and blood they went through to be a little too fascinating.
I’ll give this four missing persons lists out of five. I will say that the movie is very heavy and realistic. This is one where you may need to bring a tissue box. The Impossible is better then most disaster movies.