The Impossible

The Impossible ★★★½

i first watched this when i was 16 on an international flight to a family vacation. you know, like how the film opens on the characters at the center of this story? very quickly i realized i had made a mistake because just minutes in i was sobbing harder than i ever had before during a movie. people were actively uncomfortable around me. my parents told me to turn it off if i was gonna act like this but it was too late. i had to know what happened. i had to.

many tears and years later, the tsunami scene has continued to stick with me. it fills me with absolute horror each time i view it. i took an earthquakes class in college (university of oregon. i wanted to prepare myself for The Big One, obviously) and we each had to give a presentation. i chose to do mine on tsunami representation in film and television. most americans (dumb) think tsunamis are like that of San Andreas or Posiedon; single gargantuan walls of water the size of skyscrapers. that's rarely the case. instead they're a series of powerful, ever-increasing waves that travel at 500 miles per hour (the speed of a jet plane), churning death and debris in its wake.

i finally rewatched this with my dear friend mia in my brooklyn apartment, a decade after my first viewing. it was the biggest blindspot on her ewan filmography watchlist, plus a tropical storm had hit the city and the rain was relentless. the table was set. i knew it was time to go back to thailand. (i didn't tell her it was primarily a naomi/tom vehicle, but she would discover that on her own. the impossible hits different for us all).

watching it over again, i'm reminded just how horrible this disaster was. the world hadn't seen anything like it. i have a vivid memory of painting pins in elementary school to raise relief money for the victims. rest in peace to the 230,000 people who died in the greatest tragedy of our modern times. yes the movie should have focused more on the locals versus the tourists but as the only film on the subject—with the best tsunami scene in modern media to boot—i'll take it.

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