The Impossible (2012)

The Impossible is directed by J.A. Bayona and features Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, along with a younger pre-Spider-Man Tom Holland in a true survival tale set during the terrible tsunami that struck Thailand in 2004.

Henry Bennett (Ewan McGregor) and his family were on vacation in Thailand when the massive wave struck the beach resort that they were staying at. Henry and his two youngest sons were together but his wife Maria (Naomi Watts) and oldest son Lucas (Tom Holland) were separated from them. Maria was injured badly and Lucas struggled to keep her as safe as he could.

Honestly, the reunion between the family members is one of the most satisfying, most emotional moments you could hope for in a major motion picture. It gets me every time.

The Impossible really highlights how strong of a young actor Tom Holland was and it was clear that the kid was going to have himself a bright future in the world of cinema. While the Web-Head action was still several years away, Holland’s character here showed definite signs of being heroic. Holland was a clear standout here and carried most of the emotional baggage of the film, having to change between feelings instantly.

Naomi Watts received an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for her gritty, dirty and desperate performance as Maria. The vulnerability she showed in the role and her remarkable connection with Tom Holland provided some of the film’s best scenes.

There are some criticisms of the film for choosing to highlight the terrible Indian Ocean tsunami and to focus on a white British family, but I think that is stretching things a bit. There were some great moments that showed the strength of the local people of Thailand and how they raised up to help their fellow humans.

Based on the true story of Maria Belón, The Impossible was a powerful film. Admittedly, the title of the movie is not as equally powerful, leaning toward the side of generic. Fortunately, there is not much else generic of The Impossible.

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