I was not ready. I simply was not prepared for this film. The Impossible is the true life story of a Spanish family who survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. I knew the film, based on one of the worst natural disasters in human history, was going to be a bit on the tragic side. That would be putting it lightly. The Impossible is an emotional onslaught the likes of which I hadn't experienced in some time. It's a cinematic beat down that will leave you, trembling, exhausted and ready to hug the next member of your species you encounter on the street like they're a long lost relative.
The film, like the real event, takes place around the Christmas holiday. We follow a family of five as they arrive in Thailand and enjoy their exotic, beachfront vacation. Then, it's tsunami time. Out of the blue, a giant wall of angry ocean storms through their resort and brutalizes the country side. Over 200,000 people are killed, billions of dollars in property damage, an entire continent is in ruins, and this one family is separated amongst the chaos. The Impossible, is the seemingly impossible story of their survival.
After seeing the film, I was shocked that Naomi Watts was the only cast member nominated for an Academy Award. This is easily the best performance of her career and her nomination (and a win) is well deserved. That being said, the rest of the cast is phenomenal and just as deserving of critical praise and accolades. Prepare to see Ewan McGregor like you've never seen him before. There's one scene in particular where he's so distraught over what's happened to his family that he flips the fuck out. I had to keep reminding myself that Obi Wan can't lose and repeatedly said "YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!" under my breath in order to keep myself from loosing it. The oldest boy, played by newcomer Tom Holland basically carries the film on his shoulders. The audience follows his arc throughout the film. We're smug little shits on vacation/at the movies in the beginning, then shit gets real and we cry for our mommies, then we're just emotionally hardened super men who long to save and hug the world. That kid should have definitely scored a supporting actor nod.
Naomi Watts really does wonders in this film though. Watching her in The Impossible is like watching the torture scenes from The Passion of the Christ. It's brutal. That's what you're in for folks. The Impossible is a giant slab of gut wrenching, cringe worthy, awe inspiring, sentimental film making that will leave you floored. Schindler's List, Requiem For a Dream, fucking Toy Story 3! The Impossible ranks up there with some of the all time saddest movies. It's a damn fine film that any self respecting masochist will enjoy. Us normal folks however, harden your wits or bring some tissues. You've been warned.
The name and nationality of the original family was changed for the film. The Alvarez family from Spain became the Bennett family from the UK. Why? Who knows? Maybe because a blonde English speaking family led by A list stars would sell more tickets than a dark haired Spanish cast would. I still find it strange though, since the director and production company all hail from Spain themselves. Either way, interesting little note that in no way diminishes the awesomeness of the movie.