There are some events which you will never forget. Whether it’s the death of a celebrity (like Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston) or big events. 9/11 immediately springs to mind, but the tsunami on December 26, 2004 is another big one. Almost 230,000 died as a result, a number you can’t imagine. This movie tells the story of one family during this horrible event. It is based on the story of a real Spanish family.
The family in this movie is an English one. Henry (Ewan McGregor), Maria (Naomi Watts) and their three sons have planned to celebrate the holidays in Thailand, in a newly opened resort. A beautiful place and their first day is stunning, they celebrate Christmas and feel like they are in heaven. The paradise changes into hell when the tsunami hits on the 26th. The event has been translated to the big screen very convincingly and really makes you wonder how it was filmed. While it is taking place you can see and hear the brute force of the water, tossing people around like little leaves. With the water full of debris it’s not all about staying above the water, but also being lucky and not hitting anything. The family loses track of each other and as a viewer you join Maria with her son, trying to survive and eventually hoping to find the rest of their loved ones.
This is a heart wrenching movie and as a father I felt the desperation of Maria felt. I had a hard time not tearing up during some moments and when a movie is able to do that you know it is a good one. The movie looks stunning and you would swear it all was shot on the same day the event happened. It looks devastated, thanks to amazing effects and practical sets. The cast is great (including the kids) and this movie truly is an emotional rollercoaster. The last half hour might be a bit too manipulative for some, but personally I thought it was a very moving film and one you shouldn’t miss.