Movie review: The Impossible (2012)

The Impossible is a harrowing yet uplifting movie depicting the true story of a Spanish family holidaying in Thailand that were caught up in the devastating Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.

While spending Christmas at the idyllic Khao Lak resort, the Bennett family, headed by Henry (Ewan McGregor) and his wife Maria (Naomi Watts) experience one of the worst natural disasters in modern history. As the family spend time by the pool, without warning a huge and devastating wall of water smashes into the island destroying everything in its path and causing indiscriminate death.

The family are split up during the surge, Maria and their eldest son Lucas (Tom Holland) end up being swept inland, rescued and taken to a local hospital due to the severe injuries Marie suffered, while Henry and the two youngest sons are safe and sheltering along with other survivors at the resort.

While Maria’s condition worsens in hospital, Lucas tries his best to find the rest of his family, helping many other survivors find their relatives in the process. Meanwhile Henry struggles against all odds to find out what happened to his wife and son.

The story is powerful, harrowing and endlessly emotional, accentuated by the fact that this is a real life story of what one family went through. However despite the tragedy you are left feeling uplifted as you not only see people pulling together to help each other, but witness Lucas stepping up to the plate as he strives to reunite his family.

The cast are incredible, with both Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts being brilliant choices for the parts, and even the two youngest sons played by Samuel Joslin (7) and Oaklee Pendergast (5) are convincing young actors. But the true star of the movie is Tom Holland: Having a very large role in the movie, he puts in a mature and powerful performance in spite of only being 16.

I would recommend The Impossible to anyone and everyone. Despite there being little real action after the initial tidal wave and ensuing pandemonium, the sheer emotion of the rest of the story sweeps you away, and as the closing credits roll you are left asking the question: what would I have done and how would I have coped?

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