The Bennetts spend their Christmas in a Thailand beach resort
And enjoy their seaside holiday until it is cut short.
A massive wave of water strikes, and they are in its path.
The five are separated in the vicious aftermath.
Maria and her eldest son named Lucas are together,
And endure the vast tsunami many others could not weather.
The two survive the terrible and unrelenting flood,
And, once they get out, both are smeared with mud and dirt and blood.
They climb a tree with effort, but Maria’s badly hurt.
Thai villagers arrive and drag her through debris and dirt.
They take her to a hospital where death and pain are rife,
And overburdened doctors try to save Maria’s life.
When Lucas helps some folks, he reunites a dad and son.
Returning to his mother, though, he finds that she is gone.
Maria was mislabeled when her surgery arrived,
And Lucas is relieved when he is shown that she survived.
Meanwhile, Henry Bennett sifts through wreckage and debris,
As he searches for his wife and Lucas, parted by the sea.
His other children, Simon and young Thomas, are all right,
But Henry sends them off so he can search for one more night.
He starts to inspect hospitals and staggering mass graves,
Assisted by another who lost family to the waves.
He checks Maria’s hospital and thinks she isn’t there,
When Lucas finds his brothers and embraces the lost pair.
The family’s reunited, yet Maria’s fading fast.
In surgery, she dreams about the fierce tsunami’s blast.
Just as she reached the surface, she survives the surgery,
And the five fly home together o’er the vast and violent sea.

The Impossible is a powerful film and, as emphasized at the very beginning, a true story. In my review for The Day after Tomorrow, I said the outlandish catastrophes depicted in that movie were entertaining because they were fictional. That was a popcorn movie; The Impossible is not. Film about actual disasters are always more affecting because they happened to real people and changed countless lives, offering examples of both pain and heroism that are much more deeply felt than, say, CGI tornadoes ripping through impersonal skyscrapers.

The Impossible is often painful to watch, particularly the scenes featuring Maria’s cringe-worthy leg wound. Yet, amid all the agony and death, there are moments of light: a presumably orphaned child being seen with a loving parent, a hopeless father hugging the lost son that a stranger found for him, and of course the tear-jerking reunion of Henry and his children. Other details, such as a nonchalant note left by a survivor’s missing family before the wave hit, illustrate how swiftly life can change for the worse.

The acting is superb across the board. Though Naomi Watts received the only Oscar nomination for her pain-filled role as Maria, Ewan McGregor as Henry and Tom Holland as Lucas also give Oscar-worthy performances that connect the audience to this family that’s been torn apart. My VC felt that the technique of muting the sound to evoke the passage of time was overused, but overall the direction is also excellent.

While the scenes of suffering are devastating to watch, I appreciate that the filmmakers didn’t make it as violent as they could have. There are still some brief scenes of female nudity and some wincing injuries that could have been left out. The main issue I have, however, is the fact that God is not mentioned at all. I understand if the family was not religious, but events like these tend to bring people to a realization of divine power and aid. Considering the astounding coincidences that took place to bring the family back together, some religious references would have been appropriate. Even so, when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit, many in the U.S. could easily ignore it at the time since it was on the other side of the world; The Impossible brings this terrible tragedy home in a very powerful way.

Best line: (Henry, to his sons) “But you know the most scary bit for me?”
(Thomas) “When the water hit?”
(Henry) “No. After that, when I came up, I was on my own. That was the scariest part. And when I saw the two of you clinging to the tree, I didn’t feel so scared anymore. I knew I wasn’t on my own. You see?”


Artistry: 8
Characters/Actors: 10
Entertainment: 3
Visual Effects: 8
Originality: 7
Watchability: 2
Other (nudity, violence, and lack of religious awareness): -6
TOTAL: 32 out of 60

Next: #291: The Secret World of Arrietty

© 2014 S. G. Liput