First Hit: Based on a true story, I sat in awe throughout the entire film.
What would it be like to experience a tsunami? Although the actors played this family as English, it didn't detract from the real Spanish family's experience.
In this story the family; wife Maria (Naomi Watts), husband Henry (Ewan McGregor), oldest son Lucas (Tom Holland), middle son Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and youngest son Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) are on a vacation in Thailand.
What happens was one of the greatest natural disasters to ever be recorded - 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The direct visuals of the water, what happens under the water, and how the human spirit pulls together to continue to live is amazing.
It felt almost like we were watching a documentary in that we were given the realism of the ensuing chaos after an event like this. Although Watts is the main character, Holland’s strong role as oldest son having to learn what family means and how the connection of the human spirit and the connection of family carry life onward.
The actual water sequences with the outstanding sound editing gives the audience the feeling what it could be like to be caught in a huge water wave.
This story about amazing survivability of humans when faced with death and calamity is amazing.
Watts gives an amazing performance. I fully believed her. Her characters strength and selfless compassion was beautiful and remarkable. McGregor was good but his role felt a bit pressed when compared to Watt’s performance. Holland is a true star in this film. His growth as a human being and as a boy becoming a man was nothing short of amazing. Josin and Pendergast were perfect as the youngest boys and the tender scenes of Simon’s head on Thomas’ lap was perfect. Sergio G. Sanchez wrote an amazing script which was expertly directed by Juan Antonio Bayona. He did a remarkable job in all aspects of this film, the effects, actors and managing the story.
Overall: One of the best films I’ve seen all year.