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The Impossible | Movie Review

The Impossible is based on a true story regarding the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that had claimed the lives of many locals and foreigners. The film has the Bennett family coming to Thailand’s wondrous beach resort for their holiday, only to get separated in the midst of the catastrophe, and subsequently looking to be reunited again as a family.

The film starts out rather ordinarily, with sequences showing the Bennett family having arrived and spending quality time together—a slow but relatively necessary opening. Things reach a climatic high as we witness monstrous waves violently crash down upon the resort, sweeping away everything that stands in its path. Digital effects have recreated many on-screen disasters, but none have been done as well as this. In fact, it almost seemed as if director J.A. Byona had took up the camera during an actual tsunami.



It is, as expected, a touching story, one of resilience and of the strength of the human spirit, as we watch two loving parents lose not only each other, but also from their very own children. They are both incredibly resilient and refuse to give in to despair—a presentation of one’s parental love. There is a moment where several locals come to the rescue of two of the main characters, and it was moving indeed to see how they offered their help, and even their own clothes, to these strangers.

The film is made absolutely fantastic with spectacularly moving performances by Naomi Watts (who has received award nominations for this role) and Ewan McGregor, the two portraying the anguished parents. Watts’s character spends most of the film weak from her injuries, but that doesn’t inspire her to play it limply; she conveys strong currents of emotions through every scene where the camera is simply drawn to her every feeble movement.



The emotional aspects of the film were clearly felt, and it serves as a poignant reminder of the sheer destruction caused by the tsunami, on the environment and its residents. Although, it is customary for most film adaptations of true events to be twisted about so as to keep its viewers’ intrigue through the use of additional drama, The Impossible might have just made some of it a little too…well, impossible. There were moments in the film supposedly present to heighten the tension that consisted of evidently coincidental occurrences that were hard to believe in. Yet, the story still breaks through in the end, and will successfully grip you so that you might just leave the theatre trying to hold back your tears.




Text by: Jillian Tan




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