|Maria (Watts) and Lucas (Holland).|
Directed by J.A. Bayona
Produced by Belén Atienza, Álvaro Augustín, Ghislain Barrois, and Enrique López Lavigne
Written by Sergio G. Sánchez (screenplay); María Belón (story)
Starring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Marta Etura, Sönke Möhring, and Geraldine Chaplin
In 2004, a tsunami in the Indian Ocean struck Southeast Asia, destroying miles of buildings, countless possessions, and hundreds of thousands of lives. This is the true story of the Bacon family - Henry (McGregor), Maria (Watts), and their three sons. When the films begins, the family arrives in Thailand for what should be a nice Christmas vacation. However, the day after Christmas brings a massive tsunami that wipes out most of the area and separates them from each other. Maria and Lucas (Holland) are left to find a hospital after the water levels drop, while Henry and the other two boys must discover what became of their lost loved ones. As "true story" movies go, it's a spectacular effort, and one of the genre's most moving ones.
I must confess I don't often cry at movies. Granted, I tear up when something moves me, but I don't actually shed tears. This film is one of the only ones to make me do just that: cry my eyes out. Within the first ten minutes, it had me, and I couldn't turn away from the screen. For the next hour and a half I watched as this family tried to find their way back each other. The film is, of course, very manipulative - and I suppose very accurate - in its depiction of the tsunami's devastating effects, but I didn't care. Led by three great performances from Watts, McGregor, and newcomer Tom Holland (in one of the finest child performances I've ever seen), this touching story is definitely worth a look. The film also features terrific production design, sound design, and visual effects, while boasting a rousing score as well. It never overstays its welcome, relying on a simple, powerful story of family's fight for survival and reunion. If you're at all interested in seeing it, I strongly suggest you do.
Oscar Potential: Best Actress (Watts), Best Supporting Actor (McGregor), Best Original Score