On December 26, 2004, a tsunami struck Southeast Asia killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries. Images of that huge wave coming out of nowhere have been imprinted into our collective memories.
In The Impossible, director Juan Antonio Bayona focuses on the real life survival story of Maria Belon. Naomi Watts delivers an outstanding performance as the British doctor on vacation with her husband Henry (Ewan McGregor) and sons Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast). I was impressed by all the actors, especially Holland who captured the bravery and determination of Maria’s eldest son. I am surprised he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar.
In the opening scenes, we meet and get to know the central characters. The siblings squabble on the airplane. Henry shares his workplace issues. Maria offers to resume her medical practice. And then we watch, fascinated, as the wind picks up, a page is ripped from Maria’s book, Lucas chases his ball, and birds fly quickly away. Palm trees start falling and then the huge wave descends.
At first unsure about the film’s direction, Bayona wanted to focus on Maria’s heroics. But while speaking with Maria, she stressed that it was all due to luck.“If anything I did was heroic, what would that mean for the others who weren’t so lucky?”
Inspirational and uplifting!