Review: "Impossible" but true

Amanda Carlsson and Cathy Rong

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What starts out as a relaxing family vacation in Thailand turns into disaster in ‘The Impossible,’ a movie that follows the story of a family who is caught in the catastrophe of the 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of Indonesia, Thailand and India. The film is only one of many natural disaster films to be released this year, but ‘The Impossible” stands apart in its talented cast and realistic computer-generated imagery effects.

A relaxing vacation turns deadly as a family is caught in the midst of the 2004 Thai tsunami. Armed with impressive CGI effects and a grisly storyline, 'The Impossible' captivates audiences with its' powerful portrayal of the strength of the human spirit. Photo by Summit Entertainment.

A relaxing vacation turns deadly as a family is caught in the midst of the 2004 Thai tsunami. Armed with impressive CGI effects and a grisly storyline, ‘The Impossible’ captivates audiences with its’ powerful portrayal of the strength of the human spirit. Photo by Summit Entertainment.

Naomi Watts gives an outstanding performance as Maria, the mother who is pulled away from the rest of the family with her oldest son, Lucas (Thomas Holland), who, along with her oldest son, Lucas, when the wave finally hits. The father, Henry (Ewan McGregor) ends up with the family’s two younger sons, Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast).

The film’s tsunami effects are superb and incredibly convincing, and rivals those of ‘Hereafter’ and  ‘2012’. According to director Juan Bayona, the disaster scene took a year to plan, using real water as opposed to computer generated images water. Filming took place in various outdoor and indoor arenas from Spain to Florida. Bayona adds additional authenticity to the movie by using many actual survivors of the tsunami as extras and drawing from the real-life story of the family the film is based on, the Alvarez-Belons.

Although the screenplay is not as strong at the acting, the film’s  impossible but true storyline is enough to keep the audience interested. The climax of the film is ultimately not about the family’s survival, but rather the terrible aftermath of the wave, the struggle for safety and the dimming hope of finding one another after the destruction of the disaster.

‘The Impossible’ is an absorbing and thought-provoking drama. The film is well acted, make-up is believable and the setting is impeccable.

Naomi Watts is nominated for the best actress category in the Academy Awards, which takes place on Feb. 24.

The Impossible
1 hour 47 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense realistic disaster sequences, including disturbing injury images and brief nudity
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
With Naomi Watts,  Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast