Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tear-stained and traumatized

Inspired by the true story of a family that survived the 2004 tsunami disaster in Thailand, “The Impossible” almost effortlessly tugs at the heartstrings repeatedly, making it quite impossible not to shed some tears.

Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and written by his “The Orphanage” collaborator Sergio Sanchez, the film follows a family of tourists, the Bennetts (originally the Belons), separated by the destructive wave and its subsequent flooding.

Shortly before the tsunami hit, the parents (Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor) and their three kids (Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast) celebrate their Christmas break at a beachside resort, unaware of the impending danger to them, fellow tourists and natives in the area.

Incredible performances by Watts and newcomer Holland make the rapport between mother and eldest son even more believable; it’s hard not to wince at the severely wounded parent’s harrowing situation, and it’s heartbreaking to see the child gradually losing hope and becoming a helpless witness to his mother’s pain.

Also impressive is McGregor, whose character faces the challenge of looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. Unstopping and unstoppable, the frazzled father hopes to find his loved ones, sifting through the rubble and casualties while fearing the worst.

The reality-inspired drama’s outstanding performances keep “The Impossible” truly affecting. Much is conveyed by the cast, easily moving as the family experiencing nigh-unbelievable ordeals, battered survivors hoping to surmount those nigh-impossible odds.

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