Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Impossible (2012)


“But you know, you know, the most scary bit for me?”
“When the water hit?”
“No. After that, when I came up, I was on my own. That was the scariest part. And when I saw the two of you clinging to the tree, I didn't feel so scared anymore. I knew I wasn't on my own. You see?”

            Natural disasters are terrifying to me. Just the thought of one alone gives me shivers. I cannot even imagine living in an area where things like tornadoes, mud slides, tsunamis, volcanoes, or earthquakes happen. I guess I can say I lived through one with Hurricane Sandy but where I live in Ocean County, New Jersey I am more inland and the only thing that happens fortunately was that my house had no power for the day. I live, without traffic, about twenty-five minutes away from Seaside where all the notable destruction hit. It was devastating to see somewhere I know and was just at the summer before was horrible to witness first hand.
            When I was in college as an undergrad I had to take a natural disasters class (why I had to when I was going for my degree in Art History I cannot tell you). That class freaked me the hell out. The three natural disasters we learned about that made me nervous were tsunamis, tornadoes, and earthquakes especially tsunamis. That being said I cannot believe I even sat through a movie that dealt with a family surviving a tsunami. There was something about The Impossible that made me watch it and I have to say I am glad I did because it was very good.
            The Bennetts, an English family, are on vacation in Thailand. The family consists of Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three young sons Lucas, Thomas, and Simon. As they are playing by the pool one sunny day a huge wave comes out of nowhere and washes the entire hotel and family away.
            Maria and Lucas managed to be carried away near each other. They were trying to get a hold of each other when a surge comes and carries them away yet again. Fortunately for a second time they are able to find each other. Maria and Lucas are able to swim to a point where they can walk. They are all cut and bruised. Lucas notices that his mother has a large chunk of skin and muscle hanging from her calf exposing a gaping hole. Maria, a doctor, finds leaves and pieces of cloth to try to close the wound. While walking they find a little boy named Daniel and take them with him up a tree. In the tree they see some locals and call out to them for help. The locals take Maria, Lucas, and Daniel back to their village. Lucas is given a shirt and they place Maria on a door and take her in a truck to a hospital.
            At the hospital it is found that along with damage to her leg Maria has damage in her chest that needs to be operated on first. While waiting for surgery Maria tells Lucas to go find something to do to try to find people to help. He goes on a bit of a mission to try to reunite lost families. He is successful with one and realizes that he needs to be back with his mother. When Lucas gets back to his mother’s bed he sees she is not there and panics. Authorities have Lucas placed in a tent with other lost children. Someone comes to him later on and shows Lucas some jewelry that belongs to Maria. Lucas is so bewildered that he does not recognize the pieces. A nurse takes Lucas back into the hospital and he is reunited with his mother.
            Henry in the meantime is at the hotel. He walks around looking for Maria and Lucas. He found Thomas and Simon clinging to a tree and are at the hotel with him. The three boys have a chance to get to somewhere safe. Henry makes Thomas and Simon go he wants to stay behind to look for his wife and son. Wandering the torn streets Henry is picked up and brought to a refugee spot at a bus depot. Now he is truly separated from all his family. Thomas and Simon are taken away from the camp in a bus with other children who have been separated from their families.
            Henry is traveling in a truck with other survivors traveling from one hospital to another. He tells the truck to wait five minutes while he looks for Maria and Lucas. He and Lucas pass within seconds of each other in the hospital hallway and he stands right beside Maria on the other side of a curtain. Fortunately Lucas sees his father in the hallway and runs for him outside. the bus with Thomas and Lucas pulled up outside the hospital. Simon hears Lucas calling out for Henry and he and Thomas run for Lucas. Henry sees his sons together and runs to them. Lucas tells his father that Maria is in the hospital she needs surgery.
            Maria survives her surgery on her leg. A man from their insurance company finds them and tells the family that the company is sending them home.
            The story was incredibly intense. It was incredibly powerful as well. I could not help thinking what if the Bennetts had been my family. I was thinking that what happened to Maria would most likely have happened to my mom because if something bad happens it usually happens to my mom (our dog accidentally broke her nose a few months ago, she is always the one to get hurt in some weird way or get the sickest when some kind of virus goes around). I was thinking about my brothers and however much we fight we would be lost without each other and how nervous I would be about finding them. Also I was thinking about literally walking around with just the clothes on my back which like most people would have been a just a bathing suit. It is amazing to think that people survived at all after such a thing like that it is truly a miracle. I liked how the family never gave up on finding each other.
            All the actors were fantastic. Naomi Watts deserves a lot of credit. Ewan McGregor I thought was great after seeing some of his earlier roles and some of his characters I never would have thought he could pull of playing this type of character. Geraldine Chaplin is in one scene as an older woman who speaks to Thomas and Simon at a camp. Three boys who played the sons were wonderful they deserve a lot of credit as well.

            The Impossible is a very good movie. To me it was not about white privileged tourists who had their vacation ruined by a natural disaster this was about a family and other families either Westerners or native Thai surviving and helping each other get through the worst days of their lives. There is not too much of a story but what there is it is very emotional and really tugs at your heart for every single person that the tsunami affected. I am ever more terrified of tsunamis than I was before after this movie but it was very good and I am glad I gave The Impossible a watch.