My Cinema Society group is really heating up as we head into Oscar season, and today’s film was another example of why I’m so glad I’m a member of CS. We previewed “The Impossible,” starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, which opens in the U.S. in limited release in December and nationwide in January.
Based on the true story of a family that spent their Christmas vacation at a beach-side resort in Thailand only to be torn apart (literally and figuratively) by the devastating 2004 tsunami, “The Impossible” is an ordeal. I mean that in the best way. It’s an experience that takes you through every possible emotion you can feel and you’re wrung out by the end. But have no fear – spoiler alert – because everybody in the family survives. That’s the point. “The Impossible” is a survival story about fate and circumstance and the triumph of the human spirit. I don’t know how many times I cried during the movie, but it was often. I cried because there was so much sadness. I also cried because there was so much love.
Naomi Watts is incapable of delivering a bad performance. She throws herself into every role, and as the wife and mother of three sons in this movie she’s mesmerizing. Ewan McGregor plays her husband and, while he doesn’t have as much screen time, he’s just as good – especially in “the scene.” (You’ll know which one if you see the film.) The three young boys are beyond great.
Despite the raves “The Impossible” will surely get – it could have milked the real family’s story and become an over-the-top, special effects-laden disaster flick – it’s not an easy movie to watch. Just know going in that there’s a happy ending, not for the hundreds of thousands who died in the tsunami but for this particular family, and that there’s a lot of uplift to go along with the difficult moments.
After the screening, there was a reception for the director, producer, screenwriter and – be still my heart – Ewan McGregor. Here’s a pic of my friend Sandy saddling up next to him.
What a nice guy and not bad looking, right? He was completely charming and answered all my questions and didn’t look bored even if he was. He can come back to Santa Barbara any time….
Next up for us: “The Sessions.” John Hawkes and Helen Hunt will both be coming for the Q&A. Can’t wait.