PG-13, 114 min.
Director: Jaun Antonio Bayona
Writers: Sergio G. Sánchez, María Belón
Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oakalee Pendergast, Marta Etura, Sönke Möhring, Geraldine Chaplin
“The Impossible” is one of the most agonizing films I’ve ever seen. I spent most of the running time watching with my hands plastered to my head or face or some other expression of anxiety. I hissed between my teeth the way you do when you smash your shin on the corner of the bed for about 40 minutes straight. The movie is brilliant in the way it depicts the impossible tale of survival this family went through; and I wondered, why do we want to watch a movie like this?
Many people won’t want to watch it. My wife did and didn’t, and in the end chose some well-earned sleep instead. This was probably a good choice for her. She would’ve had a much harder time watching this movie than I did, and it was pretty rough for me. Yet, I’m glad I saw it, and I’m sure most people who do see it are glad afterward, not during.
I think the reason seeing such an excruciating tale of survival as this depiction of a real life family that did survive the 2004 December 26 tsunami in Indonesia, which is one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded human history, is because we need to have some sort of understanding of what happened, or what it meant to be there. Of course, no film can truly convey what it must’ve been like to be a victim of that fateful day, but it gives us an idea. It fulfills our human need for understanding and empathy.
This is a movie that people will approach with trepidation. Their need will all but compel them to watch it; however, being a movie, most will dismiss it for some form of escapism. But people will consider it, because they need to know. However difficult it is to even witness a dramatization of this event, you should see it. It is incredibly well done and after it is over that little understanding bug in the back of your brain will feel better. I’m still shaking my head thinking about it.