Harrowing, emotional portrayal of a devastating event (by parallel_projection)
It would be impossible to try and capture the widespread loss and destruction of this horrible, devastating event. The scope was so large and far too many people lost their lives to even attempt to portray on film. Instead, director Juan Antonio Bayona and screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez focused smartly on the true story of one family's struggle for survival amongst all that had happened on December 26th, 2004. This allows the film to be much more intimate, and the audience is quickly able to connect with the Bennett family, starting simply with their arrival to Thailand. While the <more>
audience was filled with dread in anticipation of what was to come, the Bennetts were blissfully unaware and enjoying themselves over vacation. However, everything soon takes a terrifying turn as the tsunami hits their resort in a horrifyingly realistic manner, sweeping up people as they attempt to flee before it or protect themselves from its awesome power.At this point, I, too, felt like I was drowning. The camera bobs in and out of darkness, in and out of the water, as the family's matriarch, Maria, struggles for breath. Then, clinging hopelessly onto a palm tree, she screams all too realistically for anyone who could possibly help her in a desperate, surprisingly shocking moment. It is at this point where she spots her son, Lucas, floating in the fierce waves, and I held my breath as the struggled for what seemed like an eternity to reunite in the water.In a way, Lucas, brilliantly portrayed by newcomer Tom Holland, carries the film from this point forward. He takes on the role of protecting his stubborn yet badly injured mother, and in the process he's forced to mature far too quickly. During every moment, his emotions and facial expressions convey more than any words ever could, as she shies away from and is frightened by his mother's injuries and nudity, all the while attempting to deal with the scope of the pain and devastation.However, it is his mother, Maria, whom the film truly centers around. Naomi Watts gives quite possibly her finest performances to date, portraying harrowing desperation, stubborn determination in the face of incredible pain and agony, and, ultimately, a sense of love and care despite her deteriorating state. True, she is bedridden for about half the film, but it is during this time where there are these small moments of tenderness and humility which undoubtedly makes Watts's performance one of the best of the year.In fact, the entire cast was exceptional, including Ewan McGregor, the father desperately trying to put together his family again, and the two littlest sons, Thomas, played by Samuel Joslin, and Simon, played by Oaklee Pendergast, both of whose innocence prevented them from thoroughly capturing the extent of this tragic event. The story of these three is intertwined with that of Maria and Lucas, as they all struggle for survive amidst the destruction and reunite amidst the chaos. Ultimately, this is a touching and heartwarming film, as the true kindness of humanity can be seen in this time of great loss. Yes, the tsunami is terrifying, the injuries gruesome and shockingly realistic, and the pain and suffering visible on just about everyone's faces. However, the Bennetts' story is a remarkable one of love, determination, and hope, and it simply cannot be missed.
Not fair...they shouldn't be doing this (by bethany-lewis)
The poor families who lost relatives in this terrible event must be appalled. In fact, I know for a fact some of them are upset about it being made because I know someone who's ex was killed, and she's not happy.It didn't even happen ten years ago, and there making a film of it. Why? To get money. The families don't have to see it, but most people are talking about it...so that just brings back really bad memories for them, doesn't it? I am personally fed up of people making films to get money, with no feelings towards the families of the tragic victims.0/10, if I could <more>
If we break this movie part by part and analyze it, we got a masterpiece. Everything in this movie is so well-done and lovely detailed that you simply cannot get something wrong or something bad about this story.I really think that there's almost nothing to improve this film, watching the script, direction, photography, camera work, special effects and that beautiful and incredible music work, honestly, i couldn't done better with twice the money and 10 years pre-production. One of those films that hits you when you're watching it and remember you that there's such thing <more>
called perfection, but its not common.Outrageous and amazing Story, an incredible script and an amazing music work. But maybe the authentic power of this film lies in the cast. Absolutely credible, amazing and impressive job from Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland, never expected such an amazing show interpreted from this three stars.An environment disaster was NEVER so real thanks for the amazing realistic effect taken from this film. It's without a Doubt the "Avatar" of it's genre.Juan Antonio Bayona and all the responsible for making this beautiful, crude, surprisingly realistic work...thank you very much to all of you. Naomi Watts performance is almost perfect again .Probably, one of those movies that'll stay in the history of cinema for decades. Without a doubt the best film this year.
At first I did not think this movie was something I would like to see. I felt it would be one of those movies that once the disaster happened it would become dis-interesting and would be boring the second half of the movie. I am very happy I had the opportunity to see it. The only reason I did not give it a 10 was I thought the character build up was a little shallow. I would have liked to get know the family a little better before the disaster. Other than that I feel that the movie was fantastic. Once the inevitable happened the film kept my interest and was very compelling throughout. The <more>
special effects were realistic and not over done. I wish foreign movies like this would make a bigger release in the United States to show Hollywood how to make a movie especially a true story movie. I felt when I was watching this film that I was seeing it actually happening with no to very little exaggerations. That is where I feel Hollywood falls short and puts allot of drama in a film that really did not occur in the true event. If there were exaggerations in this movie they were seamless and not over done. If you have a chance to see this movie I feel it is "a must see movie" you will not be disappointed.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is brought to shockingly realistic life in J. A. Bayona's ten minute sequence near the beginning of the harrowing true-life survival tale, "The Impossible." With little to no CGI and using mostly scale models and a giant water tank, Bayona throws the viewers into the wave along with stars Naomi Watts astonishing and young Tom Holland revelatory as Watts' son . Told from the point of view of a family on holiday in Thailand, the story makes for a riveting family-centered emotional drama. The rest of the cast is outstanding as well, and <more>
there's a strong humanist approach applied to depicting this wide-spread multi-national disaster.It might pull on the heartstrings a bit "too much" in some sequences, but the manipulation is apt in telling this real-life drama.Overall - an unforgettable, draining but uplifting film experience.Check out full reviews at theschleicherspin.com
Most emotional movie I've seen in years (by andres-rosenberg)
It is difficult to begin writing this review when you've left the cinema only hours ago feeling absolutely overwhelmed. My throat still tightens while I think of some scenes from the movie. I'm not going to explain the plot cause we all know what happened in Thai and Sri Lanka in 2004. And this is a true story of the survival of a Spanish family on vacations. The movie engages the audience from the get go, before the wave hit the hotel. The cinematography is exquisite; it has everything a hard and sad movie should have and none of the natural disasters's movies clichés. But when <more>
the water hits and the family gets torn apart the volume rises while we witness the pain and struggle of Maria, mother of 3, to stay alive and protect her family.I have to admit that I was not ready for some scenes that came afterwords. The director shows everything, most notable Maria's injuries. One asks themselves of this is truly necessary, and I believe it is. While newspapers in Spain talked about many people leaving the theater at this point it didn't happened at my showing in Barcelona , I personally felt agony more than feeling sick from the images. You need to see it in order to feel it, and to remind yourself that this is as true as it can gets, and that this same thing could have happened to you and your family while on vacations. It just doesn't get more human than this movie.Probably since Kate Winslet, I've never felt an actress deserving an Oscar nomination and win, but Naomi Watt's performance is nothing less than brilliant. This type of emotion, this type of connection both with the other characters and the audience is what acting is really all about. She's deserving of every season award there is. And I have a feeling that she doesn't even care about it. I felt her commitment to the family and to nothing else. Just bravo. The young children, specially Lucas the oldest of the three, and the husband portrayed by Ewan McGregor are also great, but as another review stated above, the second part of the story that follows the husband's trip to find her missing child and wife was not as emotional or graphic as Maria's journey on the first part. There's absolutely no one to blame for this, it is just that Maria was the one who got injured the most, and as I stated, Watt's performance was on a league on its own. And for that reason alone I gave the movie a 9. We need these type of movies and these type of professionalism and art to remind us more often of how lucky most of us are of being good and healthy. Life is fragile and every moment counts. And in the movie, every moment truly counts.
A terrible event ... but a moving film (by laheyray)
THE IMPOSSIBLE 2012 The 2004 tsunami was one of the deadliest natural disasters on record. Because it occurred in the Christmas season and hit many resort area beaches its death toll of almost 250,000 was indiscriminate, taking not only South Asians but many visiting vacationers. People everywhere were affected by it. My own relatives who were then living in Thailand were destined that day to be on the beach, but, unknown to the rest of us, illness caused them to alter their plans. I personally heard from Thai acquaintances the story of nieces and nephews who excitedly ran to the shore to <more>
see the wondrous phenomenon of the receding ocean, only to be swamped by its return. Weeks later, flying over the Indonesian coastline, I could see with my own eyes just how far inland the wave had rushed, and the devastation it had wrought.How do you frame such a catastrophe in human terms, and present a situation of pure chaos in a way that makes a compelling story? How do you tell such a tale in a way that respects both the lost and the survivors, many of whom suffered personal tragedies as well, and more of whom bore the guilt of survival? How does one story tell some of the many stories of that day? These were among the challenges that faced director Juan Antonio Bayona and screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez when they decided to put an account of the 2004 tsunami on the screen. Their solution was to deal with one British family on vacation in Thailand from Japan, but their film uses that family as a catalyst to show the tsunami's awful effect not only on the tourist population but on the local people who suffered even more.Both the film itself and the filmmakers have taken pains to say that this is a "true story," and they have aimed for the greatest possible authenticity in the circumstances. They have based themselves on detailed interviews with the family members and with other survivors, some of whom actually appear in the film. For example, those who tell their tales to Ewan McGregor at the bus station are almost all actual survivors. While footage of the tsunami strike itself was shot in a water tank at Alicante on the Spanish coast, and a couple of days filming of interiors took place in Spanish studios, the remainder of this picture was shot on location in Thailand using the real places of the story, such as the Orchid Beach Hotel in Phang Nga, and the actual hospital where much of the action occurs.The actual Thai locations and the many Thai actors keep the production values superb, and give this film an authenticity it would not otherwise have. So of course do the survivors who take part, whose emotions are sometimes all too real. Many video shots exist of the tsunami hitting the Asian beaches, but no one who was not there can have any real idea of what it must have been like to have been caught up by its waters. Bayona has chosen to focus not so much on the massive power of the tidal wave itself but on the sheer terror and disorientation it must have created for those submerged in it, and upon the human toll it took. But his scenes of its striking are horrific enough to give some sense of its magnitude, even on the screen. Nor does he pull his punches in some of the grisly scenes that follow. The impressive results that display both the striking wave and its terrible aftermath owe much to production designer Eugenio Caballero.The big names here are Ewan MacGregor as Henry and Naomi Watts as Maria, his doctor wife, while Geraldine Chaplin has a cameo role as a lady who comforts one of their sons on a starlit night. MacGregor and Watts seem to suit their parts, but in a sense they are playing predictable roles. They become a couple literally torn apart, a father having to search among the debris for the remainder of his family and a mother who for much of the picture hovers close to death. The family's three sons are played by Tom Holland Lucas , Samuel Joslin Thomas and Oaklee Pendergast Simon . The two younger boys are cute as well as being effective, but that is not really a word that suits Tom Holland. The young British actor displays a surprising maturity and delivers a wonderfully measured performance, reminiscent of a younger Daniel Radcliffe. Despite the bigger names involved, it is his portrayal of Lucas that carries the picture since he is the hub around whom events revolve as the individual stories unfold. That is a lot to ask of a young actor, but Holland delivers.No one story can ever do justice to the events of that day and the days that followed. Nor can a story set in just one location ever capture just how wide-ranging were the tsunami's effects. How can you tell the story of what happened almost simultaneously in Indonesia and India, Myanmar and Malaysia, and eventually affected even the African coast. Thankfully, Bayona doesn't try. He focuses on the few, hoping that through them audiences will better understand the tale of the many. For such a story, The Impossible is perhaps a more than fitting title, but the film works and gives a view that is both visually impressive and dramatically moving.The Impossible premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2012. It will open in Spain on October 11, and go into general release in North America in the last week of December.Ray Lahey
Watts and Holland own it...One of the Best Pictures of the Year! (by ClaytonDavis)
A film that captures real life the way J.A. Bayona captures it in his newest film The Impossible is a rare occurrence in filmmaking. Not only does he pay respect to the countless victims that were lost in the devastating tragedy, he makes artistic choices and liberties only the most seasoned directors can take. Starring Academy Award Nominee Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, the film tells the TRUE story about a family vacationing in Thailand when one of the worst natural disasters of our time separates them.In the opening credits of the film, Bayona tells the audience that the story is true, <more>
but what may bother viewers and critics is how coincidental and inflated the story can seem. If it weren't in fact true, the film would fail within the first few moments. It's the notion that this did occur that demonstrates and heightens the execution of Bayona and writer Sergio G. Sanchez so brilliantly. The Impossible is the most emotional and devastating picture seen since Paul Greengrass' United 93 2006 . In the first several minutes, I was already in tears. Letting up only for short breaths, I feel like I didn't stop crying the entire time. I was invested, full body and soul, riding among the victims in a frightening state of mind. I could only imagine myself there, terrifyingly so and with appreciation now that I wasn't. The brave and committed performance by Naomi Watts is the miracle of the film and possibly the entire year. Watts falls into the role of "Maria" with perfect precision and accuracy. As a person who's only been a father for a year-and-a-half, Watts puts me right in the moment of unimaginable fear and pain. An Oscar-caliber turn as I've ever witnessed. The entire first half of the film is shared with Tom Holland, a child actor that can only be described as well beyond his years. Holland is motivated and equally as afflicting as Watts. A performance like his can only lead to more roles for him in the future. Ewan McGregor, who unbeknownst to me as gone this long without receiving any type of Oscar attention is pure magic. He shows an effortless approach as Henry, a father desperate to find his family. If there's one poor criticism about the film it's the first half of the film, where Holland and Watts dominate, is so gut-wrenching and brilliant that when McGregor and his story enter the screen, it unfortunately just pales by comparison. McGregor isn't given the most of character development to chew through but it's still an admirable work.Cinematographer Oscar Faura's orange and yellow camera work demands the utmost attention from the viewer, gaining a near first-person view of what could have been. It's a technical achievement of the highest levels. Fernando Velasquez's somber score will only build the tears even more as your catapulted through this reenactment of terror. J.A. Bayona's direction is simplistic but delivered with reverence. A fine directorial turn.This is a film that must be experienced by all. As you lay in your cozy beds tonight, take your loved ones for granted as they walk by you, and breath the air you so blindly feel entitled to, think about if at one moment, one single moment, from now, it was all gone. The Impossible dared me to be a better human being, a notion not many films will or attempt to convey. I'll try to listen.It's one of the best pictures of the year!Read more reviews @ The Awards Circuit http://www.awardscircuit.com
Another of the many World Premieres showcasing at the Toronto International Film Festival with hopes of Oscar glory is, The Impossible, the true story of a family's struggle to reunite after being violently separated when the tsunami hit the beach of sun soaked Thailand in 2004. The film stars Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as the two parents of three young boys that were vacationing in Thailand over Christmas when the tsunami devastated the country and shocked the world. With a prerequisite set-up of the main characters, the tsunami hits early in The Impossible and packs an incredible <more>
punch. As the wave crashes through the hotels pool area and sweeps away the five members of the family, we watch in terror as Maria Watts and Lucas Tom Holland struggle to stay above the raging water and within arms lengths of each other. Once the water settles, the badly injured Maria and Lucas begin a journey of survival without knowledge as to the fate of the missing three members of the family. Lucas is forced to mature beyond his years and assist in getting his mother to a hospital for immediate emergency attention and is the key to the more emotional scenes that conclude the film. The Impossible is only the second film made using new 3-D sound technology the film is in 2-D and the crashing and fast flowing water sequences can be heard, and almost felt, throughout the entire theatre. When not fully engrossed in our characters' plights and emotionally tied to their survival, we are thoroughly repulsed by the graphic scenes of bodily destruction that blood soak the screen. Director J.A. Bayona is no stranger to horrific make-up effects as he was the genius behind the camera for The Orphanage 2007 and he pulls no punches here. Some audience members were seen turning their heads unable to ingest the graphic nature of effects and few were even seen exiting while the scenes played out in long detail. Thanks to the trailers, we know generally how the movie concludes. But just like Ron Howard's masterful Apollo 13, J.A. Bayona still keeps us at the edge of our seats even with an ending that is both clear and true to the original story. The Impossible does have its shot at some Awards glory. Watts and McGregor pull off incredibly emotional and physical scenes and films that deal with real life tragedy and the human spirit that overcomes those tragedies usually find favour with award voters. But whether or not The Impossible gets any gold plated hardware it does not take away from the tiring and emotional journey that audiences will take with their characters. The Impossible is the best depiction yet of the Indian Ocean tsunami and the horrors that succeeded it. It is also one of the best movies we have seen so far this year. Packed with equal scenes of tearful drama and graphic horrors. And although the wave is the catalyst that propels the plot, the characters are so strong that the big wave that hits the resort will hardly be the thing you most remember.