The Impossible (2012) Director: J. A. Bayona (12)

Based on the experiences of Spanish physician María Belón and her family - husband Enrique, and sons Lucas, Simón and Tomás Álvarez - The Impossible follows their survival from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The family were on holiday at the time in Thailand. It's harrowing, at times very difficult to watch, and beautifully acted by Naomi Watts as Maria, Ewan McGregor as her husband, and especially by Tom Holland who plays the eldest son Lucas.
The film briefly skims over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the luscious resort, with families enjoying their time together, young couples in love and a feeling of tranquility and paradise. There is no warning of the tsunami to come; we know the sea was sucked out before the waves came from the analysis of the event but the Belons - the Bennetts in this movie - don't see that, nor do we as the viewers. It's just as they would have experienced it - no warning apart from a strange breeze and the animals reacting. And then the waves hit.
The tsunami scenes are brutal and unrelenting. We follow Maria, as she is thrown around and hit by objects, surfacing in panic to thankfully see Lucas also in the waters. We don't know what has happened to her husband, or her other sons, her last screams to him to grab the boys. It's utter devastation and a battle for survival against all of the odds; it does seem impossible that they will ever be together again as one family unit.
Past the tsumani, the film then concentrates on hospital scenes and the search for loved ones - alive or dead. There are children, possibly orphaned, who have lost their families. There are harrowing injuries and chaos in the hospitals as they struggle to cope with the victims. It never leaves you what these people have been through, and certainly many of the survivors have praised The Impossible's accuracy. Simon Jenkins, a British survivor from Portsmouth, called the film "beautifully accurate". It's incredibly powerful to watch, and reminds you of the fragility of life; everything you love can be taken away in a few seconds. You cannot fail to be moved by this remarkable piece of filmmaking.