Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Impossible (2012)

JohnnyTwoToes tells you why watching this true-life survival drama is uplifiting.

The Impossible tells the remarkable true story of  one unfortunate family's hellish "vacation" to Thailand in 2004 when it was double hit by a catastrophic earthquake and a devastating tsunami to ever hit land. The 2004 tsunami if you remember, covered over 7 continents and killed upwards of almost 250,000 people, destroyed entire towns, villages, homes, businesses and anything that stood in its path. The earthquake that hit was bad enough (9.2 on the Richter Scale) but however bad the quake was, the tsunami was even worse, if you can grasp that. How ANYBODY could have survived this is beyond me.

The Impossible has been compared to Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, about people's encounter with death, one of them from a tsunami. Although, Hereafter is mostly fiction, The Impossible is a true story and that alone makes it special. One of the survivors, Maria Belon (on whose life this is based) was a technical supervisor in this movie to make sure this film about her and her family's ordeal was told as accurately as possible.

Only the nationality of the family in the movie has been changed. The Belons are from Spain and the family in the film are from England. Maria in the film is played by Naomi Watts, whom the real Maria wanted Ms. Watts to play her because she was awestruck with her performance in 21 Grams. Ewan McGregor plays Maria's husband, Henry and their three children, are Lucas, the oldest is ten and Thomas and Simon are the two youngest. It is a close knit family that flies into Thailand for their Christmas holiday. On December 26, 2004 the tsunami hits, carrying Maria and Lucas in one direction and Henry, Thomas and Simon in an other. I wont spoil it further as I really want you all to see it.

The Impossible is a powerful film. It is raw and brutal in its depiction of the disaster but it maintains a PG-13 rating so everyone can watch it. Juan Antonio Bayona (director of the fantastic horror flick The Orphanage) directs The Impossible with grace and tenderness. However, The Impossible came and went pretty quickly in theaters. It deserves a second viewing and the acting is superb. I want to acknowledge the performance by Tom Holland who plays Lucas. It is the best performance from a young actor I have ever seen. He shows remarkable maturity and depth and will have you glued to the screen. How Tom Holland was NOT nominated for best supporting actor is so criminal?

Yes, The Impossible tugs hard on the heart stings of the viewer, and I didn't mind. Screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez based his script on Maria Belon's story and he has captured the essence of what she discovered from her ordeal - Hold on to what you love, appreciate life and if you should get a second chance, make it worthwhile. This is a terrific film; uplifting and life affirming in people's darkest hours. The Impossible-**** out of 4


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