The Impossible tells the true story of a British family who vacation to Thailand for Christmas vacation. Suddenly they find themselves in the middle of the tragic Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, which hits the day after Christmas. It’s an unflinching and realistic depiction of environmental tragedy and the human will to survive. Separated by the flood a family fights to reunite, not knowing who is alive or dead.
It doesn’t take long in the run time for the tsunami to hit and holy hell does it hit. The way the destruction and chaos of the moment was captured was cinematically impressive and truly anxiety triggering. If you ever had a fear about drowning, or being trapped in the water, this is definitely not the movie for you. It really captured how truly sudden a wave of that magnitude can advance and just decimate an entire area. The film perfectly captures the brutality of nature and highlights how much damage it can inflict on people suddenly and unapologetically. It makes you realize how sudden an entire life can be uprooted, according to one character, “it was five seconds”.
On that note, this movie is not for the faint of heart. There are brutal scenes throughout and it’s a tough watch. I don’t understand how it earned only a PG-13 rating because it is agonizing to watch at parts. If you’re anything like me and you are incredibly squeamish, I can’t recommend this one for you. Obviously in the midst of an environmental disaster people die and people are badly injured but they don’t shy away from anything in this film. There are lingering shots of wounds, the dead, and the dying. This film can border on horror movie gore a couple times, and It’s incredibly difficult to sit through. But it really happened to this family, which almost makes it worse.
The best part about this movie has to be the eldest son, played by Tom Holland. He is a talented actor and each scene he’s in feels believable. He has a few heartwarming moments, highlighting human kindness and decency in a tragedy, and he has some heartbreaking scenes of real emotional depth as well. Ironically, he is cast to be the next Spider-Man, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, so if he is half a good comedic/action actor as he is a dramatic one, it should be one of the better Spider-Man films yet. The cinematography is great. The suspense is well paced. The acting is fantastic. It was a pleasant surprise in the bleakest movie I’ve seen in a long time.
I wish I did this movie on Tearjerker Tuesday, because this movie is a rough one. There are stunning performances by the whole cast, including the child actors, which is a rare thing nowadays. This also may be one of Ewan McGregor’s best performances to date, but the shining star is Tom Holland’s character, Lucas. Overall, don’t watch this movie is you’re squeamish or want a feel good family film. It’s brutally honest, heart-wrenchingly true, and will make you realize how fragile life truly is and how suddenly it can change.
Amy’s Recommendation: 8.7/10
P.S.- The original family this movie is based on is a Spanish family, and they were changed to a British family in film. The family was also present for most of the filming, so why they never brought up the white-washing is a bit ridiculous. Not cool casting people. Not cool.