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THE IMPOSSIBLE  : Heartbreaking True Life Story
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Friday, January 4, 2013
Human drama
Juan Antonio Bayona
Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor
The deadly tsunami that shook south-east Asia in 2004 and its aftermath on a family finds a heartwarming narration on celluloid.

The plot: Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor), along with sons Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) are on an Xmas vacation in Khao Lak, Thailand. Hardly two days into the vacation, one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, strikes the family. While Maria and Lucas manage to find each other, the whereabouts of the rest are unknown.

Thus begins the terrifying journey of a family which hopes for a reunion, unaware whether their loved ones are even alive or not.

The good:
Even though the film is based on a true incident, Sergio G Sanchez (screenplay) and Maria Belon (story) work well to create a narrative that doesn’t have a single sequence which feels unnecessary. Oscar Fuara contributes in a big way, with meaningful frames, capturing one horrific moment after other, putting forth the full impact of the tragedy. Fernando Velazquez’s music and background score effectively emphasize the story-telling and take it forward, even if it is with the simple sound of water gushing.
Naomi Watts does an excellent job of portraying the scared, helpless, heartbroken yet trying-to-be-strong mother. She makes her pain every viewer’s own. Ewan McGregorably supports her, playing each emotion, be it happiness, love, a broken spirit or fear, with equal conviction. Tom Holland as the eldest son merits a special mention transforming from a typical teenager to a responsible son and older brother, coming of age unnaturally quick in the circumstances.

The film is a composition of tender moments, where sensitivity peeps through. Like the scene in which the rescued boy (Daniel), easily pats Maria’s head and they share a rare smile or the one where Thomas innocently asks an older lady her age. 

Multiple components of The Impossible blend perfectly to give a remarkable tale of love, compassion and humanity. It touches you, strikes a chord, and lingers.

The bad:
There isn’t anything in particular which goes against the film. However, at some point, it becomes horrifying real to the point of getting gruesome. Devoid of commercial elements (melodrama, dance, music), it isn’t what Indian audiences are accustomed to which robs it of mass appeal.

Beautifully translating human emotions on celluloid, it is heartwarming and heartbreaking.

– Nikita Periwal

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