THE IMPOSSIBLE (2012)

NAOMI WATTS and TOM HOLLAND star in THE IMPOSSIBLE

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATION:

  • Best Actress – Naomi Watts

Elizabeth

I was both really nervous and really excited about watching The Impossible. Excited because I wanted to see how they filmed a movie about something as huge and devastating as the 2004 tsunami, and nervous because it was such an awful, terrifying thing.

When the tsunami hit in real life, I was morbidly fascinated with it (as I tend to get about disasters of various kinds); I couldn’t stop reading about it or watching news stories about it for days. I eventually stopped after I was getting nightmares, but I had plenty of images in my mind about what it must have been like to see it happen, and the images in The Impossible were about a thousand times worse than anything I had imagined. What makes the whole thing scarier is that María Belón, the real woman that Naomi Watts played, was on set in Thailand during the filming and worked with the screenwriter to make sure everything was portrayed accurately. And with that, any hopes I had that The Impossible overdid it went out the window.

It’s almost hard to find what to say about The Impossible, because I really do think it’s incredible all-around. It was shot so amazingly, and not just because of the way they managed to capture the actual storm. The shots were big when they needed to be, like when Maria and her son, Lucas (Tom Holland) are being swept away by the waves while trying to cling to each other and it’s shot largely from above, to show how fast the water is moving and how high it is. But they were subtle when they needed to be, too, passing without much of a pause over shots of dead bodies piled on top of one another, to give a sense that this was a commonplace thing. The acting was also unbelievable; it takes really skilled actors to bring subtlety to a disaster movie like this. When Maria first emerges from the water after the first wave hits, she clings to a palm tree as the water crashes around her, and just continually screams. The water is so loud that it’s hard to even hear her, but the way she just screams seems so natural it’s almost painful to watch. There are a lot of incredible moments of acting from everyone (is Ewan McGregor one of the most underrated working actors? I think he is): as Maria and Lucas trudge through the mud after the waves have subsided, Lucas starts to notice the extent of his mother’s injuries: a huge flap of skin bleeding and hanging off the back of her thigh, blood coming from her side. When he sees her thigh, he says her name and she stops and turns toward him and he sees that a strap of her tank top has ripped off, not only exposing her breast but exposing her pretty serious wound. He looks away while she reties her shirt to cover herself, but the look on his face shows that he’s much less concerned about his mother’s nakedness and more about what all of her wounds mean for the two of them. Then there is when Henry (Ewan McGregor) is describing to other survivors where his family was when the storm hit, and another survivor, who lost is whole family, offers Henry his cell phone so he can call home. Henry calls his mother for the first time since the storm hit, and breaks down to the point where he can’t speak and just hangs up and sits and sobs. If the acting wasn’t so magnetic, it would be too devastating to watch.

While there’s still two movies to go in the Best Actress category for us to see, I really hope Naomi Watts gets this. I think it’s a real shame that nothing else about the film got recognition, especially the visual effects and performances by Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland, but Naomi Watts really was incredible.

Christopher

This film was an emotional disaster movie that you hope works out for its main characters. This film was definitely good but not really something I enjoy watching. It’s far too stressful. There were a few times where I think the main characters made stupid mistakes but I suppose when you’re in such a stressful situation it can be hard to think clearly.

I wonder if this family still goes on vacations?

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