3 1/2 Stars
The film opens on an aircraft carrying the Belons, Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) sit engaged in their respective reading materials pausing only to lament trivial matters on the home front. Their three children Lucas, Simon, and Thomas rang from 4 years old to 12. The oldest Lucas, is a hormonal young man prone to temper tantrums and easily annoyed by the cowardice of his younger sibling. As the first act builds to the moment the incredible wave rushes over the island resort taking lives and changing the landscape forever, a sense of mounting dread begins to pile up. Bayona repeatedly gives us aerial shots of the seemingly calm ocean waters, teasing us with the very real threat that unknowingly awaits the Belons.
This is an acting tour de force from Naomi Watts as Maria Belon, a woman whose sense of survival for herself and child is made all the more amazing due to the horrific injuries sustained during the disaster. Since this is a cinematic retelling of a well-documented true story, many viewers may find it difficult to sit through the film knowing its eventual outcome. The power of the film is in the Oscar caliber acting from all three leads, particularly young Tom Holland who plays Lucas with an honest, non-cute-sy style not usually seen in child actors. Michael Henke’s french film Amour received a Best Picture nod from the Academy, yet The Impossible is the best foreign film of 2012, and arguably one of the top ten pictures of 2012, period.
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Stars: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland