Posts Tagged ‘Christmas 2004 Tsunami’

The_ImpossibleFor the first post, click here

Having taken an in-depth look at the primary mother-son relationship in J.A. Bayona’s “The Impossible,” I wanted to share a couple of other observations as well.

GERALDINE_CHAPLIN_STARSIn a separate strand of the narrative, we have the two younger boys, Thomas and Simon, in a refugee camp.  One starry night, the older boy, Thomas, meets an older English woman (Geraldine Chaplin) who tells him that the stars we see in the sky are actually the stars of the distant past.  They died a long time ago, but they shone so brightly that their light still reaches us.

“It seems impossible, doesn’t it?” the woman asks.


Going back to the Virgin Mary a moment: We can say, along with the archangel Gabriel in his Annunciation of Mary’s virginal conception of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit:

…nothing will be impossible for God. (Luke 1:37 — emphasis mine)

Like all things great and small, the dead stars whose light illumines our nights communicates the self-effacing, yielding power of God in sustaining and redeeming His creation.  That one of the very supreme instances of this power happened in a Mother’s Womb is significant, given our analysis in the first post.

bennett_family_impossibleAnd finally, a more general note.  Any time a catastrophic flood is the subject of a narrative, the Great Flood of Genesis inevitably comes to mind.  The connection here is a little bit vaguer; but weak as it might be, the connection can be summed up in two alliterative words: Flood and family.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Human beings are fallen creatures.  When things are going well, we have a tendency to settle into our selfish ways (think of Lucas Bennett on the airplane at the beginning of the film, when he is being a typical rude teenager).  Sometimes, it can take a catastrophe to shake us out of ourselves.

Sure, disasters can pit us against one another.  But they can also make us more aware of our interdependence and common humanity.  And they can strengthen familial bonds, as great trial can make us realize afresh the irreplaceable importance of family.

NoahsSacrificeThat’s where the story of Noah and the Great Flood becomes relevant.  When we read this classic story, we notice that the very same Flood that destroys the world renews it (renewal is a property of water, after all).  In Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives, humanity is given a new beginning…and it all begins with the family.

Why?  Because the family is a living image of the Blesséd Trinity, the eternal communion of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the God for Whom the human heart is made.

And why do even disaster and tragedy have the potential to bring light to this aspect of human existence?  Let me answer that question with an image:

Christ Crucified by VelazquezThe Second Person of the Blesséd Trinity, in Whom the dying stars that share their light with the world so many years later were made, the Eternal Son of the Eternal Father, has assumed all suffering and catastrophe unto Himself, so that in and through these things we might have the inexpressible privilege of touching His precious wounds…indeed, of sharing in these saving wounds ourselves, so as to take on a salvific role for others.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend “The Impossible.”  It is a well-done film, a testament to the triumph of the human spirit, and a work of art that speaks to the human heart in very profound ways.

“Impossible” poster and Biblical images from Wikipedia; remaining images obtained through a Google Image search

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I’ve been meaning to see this movie for quite some time, and was finally able to do so recently by the courtesy of a relative.

Very powerful and moving film, based on the true story of a family miraculously reunited after being separated by the 2004 tsunami in Thailand.  The film overall shows how certain primal themes of the human soul can come to light in the midst of great catastrophe.


We meet the Bennet family — consisting of dad Henry (Ewan McGregor), mom Maria (Naomi Watts), and sons Lucas, (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin), and Simon (Oakley Pendergrast) — as they vacation in Thailand for Christmas; they are relaxing and playing by the pool at their resort, and then the tsunami hits…virtually washing everything away.


The first sign of hope we see after this is when Maria and Lucas find each other in the wreckage.  At first, the swift-flowing currents make it hard for them to reach one another.

But they overcome, and they embrace.

Maria offers Lucas the comforting encouragement proper to a mother, and then when she becomes badly injured and, ultimately, ill, he gives her the tender care of a dutiful and loving son.

Some people may disagree with me on this — they’ll say: “Hey, a parent is a parent, and a child is a child.”  But deep down, I think we can sense the reality is something different.  A father’s relationship with his daughter is special in a way that a father-son relationship is not, and vice versa.  A mother’s relationship with son or daughter is special and unique in a way that either child’s relationship with their father is not, and vice versa.  Likewise, a mother’s relationships with son and daughter differ as much as they the father’s.

Such is the incredible richness of the human family.

Lucas_MariaIn Maria and Lucas we see an example of the particular filial bond between mother and son, embracing as it does both the fierce nurturing of the mother and the tender, doting care of the son.  Let’s face it: This moves us deeply, right?

But I think it does more than merely tug at our heartstrings.  Indeed, it strikes a chord deep in our souls that resonates into our thoughts and emotions.  In my opinion, it speaks of a primordial reality older than the ages, yet always pregnant with the hope of new life.

What is arguably the greatest illustration of this was sculpted by Michelangelo in the 16th century:

PietaHere we see the Virgin Mary cradling the body of her Son after the Crucifixion.  Talk about a mother’s care for her child.

But yes, this relationship also went the other way — in fact, in this case the Son’s care for His Mother came first.  This finds expression in the wonderful doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception.  Knowing from all eternity what kind of mother He wanted, the Word of God granted Mary of Nazareth an unprecedented and singular grace: Freedom from all sin, both original and personal, right from the very moment of her conception.

It was as if He saw her walking toward an unseen hole in the ground and stopped her before she got to it, so that she could have a special partnership with Him in saving the rest of us who had already fallen in.

Maria_Lucas_Daniel(I am reminded of Maria and Lucas helping other people, like the little boy named Daniel, in the wake of the tsunami)

To me, any such mother-son relationship as that portrayed in “The Impossible” is a type of that great archetypal Mother-Son relationship.

This was the aspect of the movie that struck me as most profound.  I have a couple of more minor thoughts I’d like to share as well, but I will include these in a follow-up post (hopefully by the end of the week).

Image of Michelangelo’s “The Pietá” from Wikipedia; others obtained through a Google image search

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