This morning I saw The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Tom Holland.
Maria (Watts) and her husband Henry (Ewan McGregor) are a happy couple on holiday with their three young sons, Lucas (Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) in Thailand. The year is 2004.
After celebrating a joyful Christmas the day before, the family is relaxing by the pool when they hear a horrible noise. Without warning a 30-foot wall of water comes crashing into them, obliterating everything in sight.
Maria gasps her way to the surface and realizes that her son Lucas is alive and nearby. She swims to reach him and they spend the next several hours fighting for their lives; he only has minor injuries, but she has internal and external bleeding. To top it off, she's a doctor so she knows what bad shape she's in. Despite that, she tries to stay strong for Lucas, assuming she's all he has left.
Meanwhile, Henry, Thomas and Simon have all survived and are in better shape. Henry trusts kind strangers to watch the boys as he desperately searches for Lucas and Maria.
This true story of the Belon family, is one of the most intense, emotional films I've ever experienced.
Though I knew what ultimately happened going in, every last moment of this roller coaster was draining. If the characters were happy, my eyes glistened with tears of joy; if they felt pain, I absorbed their grief ten-fold. And the reenactment of the tsunami itself was better than any horror film I've seen. Simply harrowing.
Watts is so incredible as the drifting Maria, that you can almost feel the life leaving her as she lies weak in the hospital. The young Holland gives an Oscar-caliber performance, simultaneously exhibiting fear, sadness and strength.
Really, each and every cast member was phenomenal.
The Impossible will make you think about what you take for granted, how precious life is, and how kind the human spirit can be.
A wonderful, wonderful film.