On Saturday I went to see The Impossible. I first saw the preview for it a few months back and I remember very well how breathless it left me. I expected the film to be nothing short of what I saw in that trailer. Then the reviews came out and my critics were heralding it as THE best film of the year. Plus the film happened to feature two actors that I deem very likable: Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor (and come on you already know I have a soft spot for him....) You know what all this means? Very high expectations. Not that I'd been counting down to this like I had been with The Hobbit or Les Mis, in fact this was a film I was unsure if I'd end up seeing at all in theaters or through rentals. But still.....I expected it to be top notch. So how did the film fare against these expectations? Impossibly well.
Let me first say that I'm very glad I DID see this one in the theater. The sound in the theater was particularly and incredibly effective. I can't remember a film recently that really used sound as such a tool to transport the audience into the film. From the opening, you FEEL it, and you can't help but feel and wonder what it would be like being there. The whole film is like this from the incredibly real visuals (I remember reading that no CGI was used, but I could be mistaken) to the very natural performances and the stunningly authentic looking makeup. This is the type of movie that commands your attention and holds it hostage for two hours. I think that it would be near impossible to sit in that theater and not feel something; I think this would be a hard film to be apathetic about.....unless of course you went in feeling offended that it's about a white family and refuse to look at the actual story. I'm not saying there weren't Hollywood politics at play, but the tragedy affected many people....race shouldn't even be a consideration when watching this devastating film. To me, when I watch something like this it's more of a celebration of mankind and evidence we're all brothers and sisters. Many people in the film were heroes (haha except of course a few jerky Americans...), not just the protagonists.
Anyway, I got a little sidetracked...back to my experience with the film! I was shocked at the wave of emotion that came over me very early on in the film. I probably broke down into tears 15 minutes in and that was NOT expected at all. And....the crying didn't really let up. I think Naomi Watts' performance was largely responsible for that.....as well as Tom Holland who plays her eldest son Lucas. We follow them and their will to survive for a great deal of the movie and it's not easy to watch. In fact, it's pretty intensely torturous. Also before I forget, I have to mention that Ewan McGregor was incredible too. The scene where he calls his Father-in-law is absolutely haunting. The boys who played the younger sons were great too! Honestly the whole cast was pretty terrific. Could be the best ensemble cast I've seen this year...because they FEEL like a family. And there's just something about the bond onscreen between Naomi Watts and Tom Holland. You BELIEVE how much they care about each other. Their concern for each others survival is heartbreaking.
This film certainly doesn't glamorize the disaster....it depicts it as devastating and absolutely physically horrifying. There's so many things that you just don't consider (being stabbed by debris and the injuries you would endure) that just stare you in the face when you're watching this. I have to say it over and over again.....this is NOT an easy film to watch. It kind of breaks you. However for every moment of sheer and utter pain, there's some moment that breaks you down in another way.....moments of kindness and charity, where people care for their fellow men and help each other.. And it's just beautiful. I won't lie.....I'm pretty sure I was crying for 90% of the film. I think this film was incredible and definitely worth watching. Just know that if you do decide to watch it, it's not really a film you watch to pass the time.. It's a film that takes you, and makes you feel this tragedy, but also shows you the triumph mankind and the true generosity they're capable of. This was quite possibly one of the most powerful films I've ever seen....but I don't know that I could ever be able to watch it again! EMILY RATING: 9.5/10