Friday night I subjected my mum, pregnant sister in law and a mate to a rather traumatic cinema experience.
"Oh yes, why don't we go and see The Impossible. It is the story about the strength of a family and about hope."
Obviously I realised this film was based on one family's recollection of the overwhelming and tragic disaster that was the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.
I expected it to be an emotional film but was completely taken aback by the terror that ensued.
All credit to director Juan Antonio Bayona. You spend the entire film thinking how impossible it is that the family that are the focus of the film are surviving their ordeal.
Naomi Watts is Maria Belon, wife to Henry (Ewan Mcgregor) and mother to three boys. The family are portrayed as being British despite the family the film is based on actually being Spanish.
The family are enjoying a Christmas holiday in Thailand when the tsunami hits on Boxing Day.
The main focus of the film is on Maria and her eldest son Lucas.
It is very difficult to watch as the mother and son fight for their lives through the water and the debris. They see each other but cannot reach one another at first which is heart wrenching.
The injuries that Maria sustain are horrendous and the film shows them in graphic detail. Focusing on Lucas's perspective of seeing his Mum so badly hurt.
I have to say I struggled at this point.
I like action films with their blood and guts. I can tolerate the gore because I perceive it as being completely ficticious.
This was different.
The injuries shown were based on those sustained by Maria in real life.
The film very cleverly shows the overwhelming force that is water. Maria's body gets thrown about in the water like she is in an enormous washing machine.
She gets her injuries when she is smashed uncontrollably against debris that is being swept with the wave.
It is very upsetting.
Sniffles and sobs could be heard throughout the film in the cinema (mostly coming from me).
The moment the brothers see each other after not knowing whether each other had survived is so emotional and well acted. You need a heart of stone to not find the desperation in the little boys voice when he is shouting his Dad extremely moving.
I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone with a weak stomach or any slight fear of the ocean (you will never go to the seaside again!)
It's well made and well acted but I question whether or not it is entertainment?
Films have and will always continue to be made about real life tragedies, wars, desperate times.
Maybe the memories of seeing this horrific event unfold on the news are still to fresh to enjoy seeing a film about it.
Maybe as a parent these scenes were too nerve wracking and heart breaking to endure.