Now Playing: The Impossible

by The Dartmouth Staff | 1/27/13 11:00pm

Inspired by the events of the 2004 Thailand tsunami, director Juan Antonio Bayona's "The Impossible" details one family's incredible fight for survival amidst a country in chaos. The film finds Henry (Ewan McGregor), his wife Maria (Naomi Watts) and their three sons enjoying a post-Christmas vacation in tropical Thailand, only to soon find themselves in one of the worst natural disasters in modern history. As the film recounts the parents' undying efforts to protect their children, scenes of heart-wrenching tragedy illustrate the compassion among family members. The film ultimately moves beyond scenes of tension, and instead, develops character depth, making sure to garner audience emotions. Laura Sim

Directed by: Juan Antonio BayonaWith: Watts, McGregor, Tom Holland114 minutesRated PG-13

With stunning effects and powerful performances especially by Watts and rookie Holland as a mother and son fighting for their lives "The Impossible" is a compelling, meaningful portrayal of the tsunami that rocked Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004.

It might not be the best choice for a Friday night adventure, but this is the perfect film for a thoughtful night to remind us that we have more to be thankful for than we usually realize. Kyle McGoey

In a compelling recreation of 2004's devastating natural catastrophe, McGregor and Watts rise above the movie's emotionally overwrought screenplay to bring visceral and vivid performances to the silver screen. Instead of focusing on the massive destruction and human debris resulting from the tsunami's devastating power, "The Impossible" turns to the human fragility and complexity that is brought to light by natural disasters. "The Impossible" is an exhausting film to watch as it follows the desperation but ultimate perseverance of one tight-knit family, but for that same reason it is a rewarding movie as well. Katie Tai

On its surface, "The Impossible" looks like a sappy run-of-the-mill story about a family overcoming severe adversity in order to be reunited with one another after a horrible disaster. In many ways, it is that sappy story, but what saves "The Impossible" from the bargain bin is its superb direction and all-around wonderful performances. The tsunami sequence is nothing short of a technical masterpiece and we would be wise to keep an eye on Holland, the fantastic child actor who plays the oldest of three siblings in what is possibly the film's strongest performance. Varun Bhuchar