The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is brought to shockingly realistic life in J. A. Bayona's ten minute sequence near the beginning of the harrowing true-life survival tale, "The Impossible." With little to no CGI and using mostly scale models and a giant water tank, Bayona throws the viewers into the wave along with stars Naomi Watts (astonishing) and young Tom Holland (revelatory as Watts' son). Told from the point of view of a family on holiday in Thailand, the story makes for a riveting family-centered emotional drama. The rest of the cast is outstanding as well, and there's a strong humanist approach applied to depicting this wide-spread multi-national disaster.
It might pull on the heartstrings a bit "too much" in some sequences, but the manipulation is apt in telling this real-life drama.
Overall - an unforgettable, draining but uplifting film experience.
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