This film is based on the tsunami that occurred in Thailand during Boxing Day that year.
A family of four; mother (Naomi Watts), father (Ewan McGregor), and three sons (Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast), are just vacationing in their hotel when the tsunami suddenly hits and surprises everyone on that coastline.
It’s intruiging and so very desperate to see what those poor people had to go through. Being dressed in not much more than bathing suits, they had (all of them, not just the family portrayed here, obviously) to try and find their loved ones back. Given that trees had fallen down and people probably have been trapped under there, it must have been horrific to witness and to be part of such a disaster.
You also see Lucas having to be far more of a man, all of the sudden. His mother is wounded, he just wants to go back to something that seems familiar and safe, and suddenly his mother points him to creatures that are even more vulnerable and lonely, such as the little barely 2 year old they bump into.
The adventure they have together, aswell as their husband and his father, with the two sons and siblings, is quite remarkable and shows quite well how things went.
The friendliness of local people, but also how cruel circumstances can be, despite everyone’s efforts to make the best of it.
Maria (Naomi Watts) is still being the perfect mother when in hospital and so deadly ill. Giving Lucas the assignment to go look for people who need help. It seems strange to send her son away, and yet: with the adrenaline bursting, it is truly good for his mind to be occupied that way.
The euphoric feeling he gets when he has a match is incredible.
The only thing that quite bothered me -though this is typically Hollywood, I get that- is that they team behind the film apparently couldn’t be bothered to look for a family that even slightly resembled the actual family they have been depicting. They chose their specific story, which is indeed extraordinary, and included lots of other survivors aswell, so why not choose likewise people? This wasn’t a typical American family, as is shown. They are actually Spanish.
Then again: it does not, in itself, mean that Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, nor the boys, don’t do their job well. They do so, the story is desperate and heartwarming. Just what you need on a rainy day with a cup of hot tea within reach.
It’s well worth a watch.