Yesterday I decided to head to the cinema to see the 2004 tsunami film “The Impossible” directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. I knew it wasn’t exactly going to be a cheery festive flick and I must say I was slightly dreading the emotions that would be inflicted upon me from viewing the horrific scenes.
Without giving too much of the storyline away, the plot is based on one family’s journey of events while they were staying in Thailand during the boxing day tsunami in 2004. From the start I had the horrible feeling I was going to feel the exact same way about this film as I did the ill-fated, “Titanic”. Everytime I watch it I always think there could be some hope that it might not sink, all films about historical disasters have a guaranteed ending but I was curious to see how they would play this one out. I wouldn’t recommend this film for the faint hearted, this is obvious from the theme although a fellow viewer who happened to be sitting beside me managed to jump at every scene. The audience was captivated and I did notice the rustling of crisps and sweets stopped immediately after a close up of Naomi Watts injured leg was revealed. The moral of the storyline is hope, people in the audience were moved at the devastating effects that were shown on-screen but also by the kindness of man as people were helped by others to find their loved ones, this could be heard from the sniffles and jerks from the seats surrounding the screen.
The film is based on a spanish family, this explained all the spanish contributions and references at the start of the film, after discovering this I wondered why the family were made british and not their real nationalities? To which my dad replied “No one would be able to understand them if they were speaking in spanish now would they?” – very good. Yes this would be a factor but the real life happening of events would be more true to the family’s trauma, more personal and engaging. A british family is more relatable to british people I guess, this makes the events all the more terrifying. Many times have I went abroad with my family for the festive seasons which makes it more relatable to me personally. My mum was even more traumatized after recently visiting Thailand, she said she was horrified after seeing the footage because she can remember exactly what it was like. She thought it was very surreal as it automatically makes you think what you would have done if it had happened when you were there.
After wiping my eyes (a good few times) I found the story uplifting. The time of release of the movie collaborates with the period of time that the actual disaster happened, during the festive season. I thought distressing scenes would most definately cause me to steer clear of even thinking about going on holiday to Thailand, this was not the case. The natives of Thailand were shown to do anything they could to help and the country looks idyllic in the first shots. I would highly recommend this film, although a major tragedy it causes you to leave the cinema feeling grateful, uplifted and restores your faith in humanity.