The thing about knowing how a movie will end is that you spend a majority of the movie bracing yourself for the inevitable outcome. The viewer manipulates the movie as though it is a puzzle; working to piece together the separate images they are presented with in order to complete the image on the cover of the box. When the inevitable moment comes, a wave of relief washes over those in the audience, matched with an equal amount of fear resulting from the fact that the viewer doesn’t know where the movie will go from there.
In The Impossible that moment was the tsunami of 2004. The moment when a brown mass came hurling towards gorgeous coastline, everyone knew it was coming. Everyone going into The Impossible knows there is going to be a deadly tsunami, followed by a long period of struggle on the part of the family the movie focuses on. Yet, I still found myself sobbing while the mother, Maria (Naomi Watts), was screaming her head off, clutching a telephone pole/palm tree (pardon my memory). And when she found her son nearby? Forget it, I absolutely lost it. Thankfully, I know myself with movies and I brought tissues. But still, I cried four separate times during The Impossible. The only movie that has ever made me cry more was The Hunger Games (Jennifer Lawrence makes me break down and I’m not sorry about it).
The Impossible was a wonderful movie, and it obviously evoked a very strong emotion from within me. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure that Naomi Watts is the most powerful mother figure in any movie I have ever seen. Not only did she put her life in danger multiple times for her family, specifically the eldest boy named Lucas, but for a little boy she didn’t even know. She walked through the marshes of Thailand with a gaping, bloody hole in the back of her leg in order to reach higher ground for her son. She mixed anguish, love, determination, fear, and extreme pain perfectly, and kept it up for the duration of the movie. Honestly, she should win best actress at the Academy Awards for this movie.
Some reviewers of The Impossible believe that the movie was too focused on one family that wasn’t even a local of Thailand. The complaints emphasize the fact that there was little to no attention paid to the actual inhabitants of the country during the tsunami, which is true; the main interaction between the British family and the natives were in the hospital and getting transport around Thailand. My issue with these complaints is, yeah, so what? The screenwriters decided to tell this great and emotional true story from the viewpoint of one family (who are from Spain in real life) and it was a great narrative. It had a very specific angle, a spin if you will, and just because it didn’t address every single aspect of the tsunami does not mean that the movie should be downgraded or diminished in any way. It was an encouraging story of family, fear, and strength in the face of inevitable death, and I highly recommend it.