The Impossible

I just watched a 12-year-old boy become a man. After 114 grueling minutes of calamity piled upon disaster followed by tragedy, I got a lump in my throat along with the rest of the audience as we saw a dauntless family do its best to cope with a vacation gone very, very wrong. "Lo imposible" is based on a book by María Belón which in turn was in- spired by true events that occurred during the catastrophic tsunami that devastated southeast Asia in 2004.

We follow:
  • Naomi Watts ("J. Edgar") is María, a physician who has suspended her career to raise a family.
  • Ewan McGregor ("Salmon Fishing in the Yemen") is Henry, her husband, who has concerns about his job but most particularly whether or not he re-set the house alarm when they left for their vacation.
  • Tom Holland (voice:"The Secret World of Arrietty") is Lucas, a mildly rebellious tween but a good kid. Once he and his badly injured mother are stranded in the bewildering detritus of the tsunami, he is the stronger and the healthier of the two. He never hesitates.
  • Samuel Joslin (in his first movie role) is Thomas, the tyke charged with the responsibility to watch over his even littler brother. He is truly alarmed and his scene with his father is brilliant.
  • Oaklee Pendergast ("EastEnders") is Simon, the little brother who really has to pee!
Much has been made over the myopia of Western Europeans making a movie that features a white family in the midst of a tragedy that killed over 200,000 (mostly local) people. I could argue that these locals are portrayed in the very best light: they instantly spring to the aid of any and everyone, are kind, considerate and life-saving whenever possible.

Director Juan Antonio Bayona ("The Orphanage") has created a master- piece that is surely the envy of directors who specialize in disaster films. The scope of this one is astonishing. I have no idea how much of it is Computer Generated Imaging, how much is from news clips and how much was staged, but suffice it to say, it is truly impressive. First the tsunami itself, then the ravaged land with the villagers who immediately come to help, the field hospitals that are quickly set up and the emer- gency care that is mobilized, are mind-boggling. All combine to make me proud that I'm a human being.

As expected, the adults in this film are terrific, but the children are exceptional! The PG-13 rating is for the intensity of the suffering and the scope of the tsunami. A loving family is what we are there to see and we get to see it!
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Here is a preview:
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