I’m not a film reviewer, but I just had to share my thoughts on The Impossible, the moving and horrific portrayal of one family’s life being torn to shreds by the tsunami that tragically destroyed hundred and thousands of lives in Thailand on Boxing Day 2004. Directed by JA Bayona (The Orphanage) and starring mum of the family Maria (Naomi Watts), dad Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three young boys Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) it really earned the ‘will have you on the edge of your seats’ tag that I’ve often read in movie reviews.
At first, I didn’t know whether I should see this film as Queen Teen had warned me “you will love it mum, but you won’t be able to watch because you’ll be crying too much.” Being known to well up with emotion at ‘Animals and Children do The Silliest Things’ type of shows, I thought she might have a point. But I was intrigued and so, Stressed Husband and I went along to Westfields, armed with tissues (and chocolate) and took our places. From the outset of the film I was hooked at the beauty of the lush, calm surroundings of the Orchid Resort in Phuket, Thailand and the friendly, gentle Thai resort staff. This peaceful and relaxed environment was a stark contrast to the violent and belligerent freak of nature that was about to smash these people’s lives upside down.
Once the tsunami had hit, it was the strength of the courage and love between Maria and her son Lucas that was so heart-wrenchingly touching. She didn’t know where her husband and two younger sons were, but she and Lucas hung on to debris together, knowing that they must stay safe for the other. They were all they had now. Watching Lucas – still a boy, but on the cusp of manhood – gritting his teeth to push his injured mum further up a tree to safety was hard to watch without imagining my son in the same position, which opened my flood gates and took at least a few tissues to mop up. Earlier in the film, when Lucas watched his mum being washed past him face down before surfacing and taking a breath which showed him she was alive, he uttered the heartbreaking words “never do that to me again, mum. Never do that.” He thought she was dead and only then did you see him allow the signs of the scared little boy within him peep through.
While Maria and Lucas were found and taken to hospital, dad Henry and the other two boys were in turmoil not knowing whether mum and Lucas were alive. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts are fantastic in their parts as parents thrown into a nightmare situation but the boys are all something else. For such young actors to play incredibly emotional and powerful scenes with such conviction was mind blowing. The tears I cried were also credit to their performances as well as to the tragedy of all of those families whose normal lives were ripped apart that day.
There was a happy ending in that the family were eventually reunited, and in a tragedy that killed more than 230,000 people, what are the odds of that?
So Queen Teen was right in that I was a bit of a teary wreck after watching The Impossible, but the film also left me feeling more than ever that the bond between a family is amazing. It makes you want to celebrate that our children, husbands and wives are here right now. Today. Maybe our lives aren’t that exciting, we might moan and bicker about our husbands not putting out the rubbish and snoring or the kids not getting on with their homework, but does it really matter? For a while, after watching this film, you’ll cherish the normality of your own, lovely, family.