The Impossible is based on a true story, so how accurate is the tsunami narration in the movie? Spanish filmmaker JA Baiona directed the 2012 film, resulting in one Academy Award nomination and box office performance that quadrupled the $ 45 million budget. The Impossible features Tom Holland in its first role in a live-action movie, and includes terrifying survival sequences, but it’s the heart of the movie that makes it emotionally resonate.
In The Impossible, the Bennett family travels from Japan to Khao Lak, Thailand for their 2004 Christmas trip. Henry (Ewan McGregor) informed his wife Maria (Naomi Watts) that he might lose his job in the coming days, but instead of worrying about what might happen, The couple decided to relax and fully enjoy the experience while spending quality time with their children: Lucas (Holland), Thomas (Samuel Jocelyn), and Simon (Oakley Pendergast). One day after their arrival in Thailand, the earthquake and tsunami devastated the local community and forced the Bennets to fight individually for their lives.
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Related: The Impossible: What Happened to the Real Family After the Movie
The Impossible story is inspired by a real family that survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Khao Lak, Thailand. The film’s core drama centers on the efforts of each family member to survive, and how they ultimately find each other despite the circumstances. Watts received an Academy Award nomination for her outstanding performance as a woman battling life-threatening physical injuries while concerned about the fate of her husband and children. The Impossible is now airing on Netflix, mostly staying true to the original story, but making some narrative adjustments for Hollywood marketing purposes.
How the impossible changes the main family
The Impossible was inspired by the experiences of Maria Pilon, who survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake with her husband Enrique and three children (Lucas, Simon and Thomas). For the film, Maria was reported to have worked directly with screenwriter Sergio J. Sanchez to ensure the authenticity of the story. Overall, The Impossible stays true to the original story, with Belóns becoming the Bennetts. Mariah’s name remained the same, albeit without the diacritical mark, and Enrique’s name was changed to Henry. The children’s names remain the same, but with the diacritics of Simon and Thomas removed.
Sanchez noted that the nationality of the Bennett family was never explained because he wanted the story to have universal appeal. And with two international stars in the lead roles, the producers were able to market The Impossible as a production in Hollywood. Instead of making a Spanish movie about a Spanish story, Bayona and Mariah agreed that the character’s details could be tweaked a bit in order to reach a larger audience.
He explained impossible bleaching criticisms
When The Impossible was released, several outlets called the film to “whitewash” the narrative. That is, many white artists were chosen for the roles rather than Spanish performers who could portray the Belón family more authentically. A January 2013 article in The Guardian stated that The Impossible “focuses not on the plight of indigenous victims, but rather on the less-terrifying experiences of privileged white visitors.” One month ago, two Slate magazine reporters discussed whether or not The Impossible was “culpable.” Even before The Impossible was released, Film School Rejects commented on the “white wealth” of the trailer.
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In fact, she chose Maria Watts to star in the movie The Impossible. She could have picked a popular Spanish actress with mainstream charisma like Penélope Cruz, but instead she chose the actress who made an impression on her while watching 21 Grams, a 2003 drama by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñáritu. The accusations of bleaching are certainly true, but the cast in and of itself is not exclusively white but made up of various Thai individuals. In December 2012, MacGregor addressed the bleaching controversy [via The Guardian] The spirit of the movie is summarized:
“Naomi’s character was rescued by a Thai man, and taken to safety in a Thai village where Thai women dress her … In the hospital they are all Thai nurses and Thai doctors – you see only Thai people saving lives and helping.”
Tsunami versus the impossible. The real life
Impossible was filmed at Orchid Beach Resort in Thailand, the same place the Belón family stayed when the tsunami struck. For the wave scene, Watts and Holland spent time in a Spanish water tank, and the special effects were later added digitally. According to Maria (via Los Angeles Times), her family visited The Impossible set and informed the performers of what they experienced individually when the tsunami arrived. In the movie, the cast members stand in the same places as the Belón family members. Pier Maria:
“I was feeling almost all the souls there. It was raining and raining and raining the whole time filming. It shouldn’t be raining … It was the dry season. Bayona was saying, ‘Maria, what’s going on?’ I was saying, ‘They need to cry. Leave them. ”
When the tsunami hit the resort, Maria broke her nose, tore her leg, and suffered from bleeding in her kidneys, bladder and intestines – consistent with what Watts suffers from in The Impossible. In October 2020, Mariah appeared in a motivational video for BCC Speakers [via YouTube] He explains that the underwater scenes in The Impossible were designed to make all viewers feel exactly what the victims were feeling during the tsunami.
Impossible Hospital Scenes and Family Reunions Vs. The real life
According to Maria, she wrote letters to the makers of Impossible Filmmakers that conveyed her experience while in the hospital. Then the images were applied to the production of the film. In a message titled “Delirium,” Maria recalls her feelings as she was losing a large amount of blood:
“[The doctors] Cut off a piece of the leg. I felt withdrawn. Can they throw it in the ocean? He is hungry. starving. This is why he has bitten us all … ”
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The family reunion scene in Impossible is especially touching, in which the Watts character wonders if she’s really dead. As it turns out, this very moment was based on one of Maria’s letters to Bayona and her company:
“They say my name softly. Scream louder. I’m already walking towards the tunnel. ….” Mama, mama, wake up. Did you get the same wave as you did? Simon is covered in mud. Thomas with his chubby cheeks and his teardrop face beside him. He has scratches He is very sad and very dangerous. ‘Ma, are you not happy to see us?’
Other survivors have praised the delicacy of the impossible
Many survivors praised the impossible. A testament to Mariah’s guidance and attention to detail during production. In 2013, Simon Jenkins stated [via The Guardian] He is “disappointed” by his accusation of bleaching, most notably the suggestion that the film was focused on “distinguished white visitors”. According to Jenkins, The Impossible reflects its own experience in Thailand:
“For myself (at the time) the 16-year-old and the Pilon family, it was the Thai people who waded into settled waters after the first wave of helping individuals and families struck … The Thai people lost everything – homes, businesses, and families – but their instinct was Tourists help. “
Survivor Rick von Feldt also appreciated The Impossible in 2013, stating that the film contained details that he and fellow survivor named Peter had forgotten. Von Feldt also pays tribute to The Impossible for capturing all the dangerous objects that are hovering around in the water after the tsunami struck. He remembers being trapped in a “deadly debris washer”.
When thinking about how other survivors would view The Impossible, Maria suggested that the film’s message I hope will stand out more: “I thought,“ They will forgive me for any mistake I have done… ”It’s for the people who didn’t work and for the people who are alive. I think of them every day – those who suffer, those who miss people. “
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About the author QV Hough (1,389 articles published)
QV Hough is Screen Rant’s team writer. He is also the founding editor of Vague Visages, and a contributor to RogerEbert.com and Fandor.
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